BASINGSTOKE MP Maria Miller has explained why she voted against proposals to remove tax from sanitary products. 

As reported in The Gazette, Mrs Miller was one of 305 MPs to vote against the Labour motion to remove the five per cent tax on sanitary products, known as "tampon tax". 

The motion was defeated on October 26 by 305 votes to 287. 

Only three Conservative MPs, all men, rebelled against the whips.

The motion called for an amendment to the Government Finance Bill that would have forced officials to open negotiations with the European Union on the tax.

Along with Mrs Miller, North East Hampshire MP Ranil Jayawardena and North West Hampshire MP Kit Malthouse also voted against the motion.

Government ministers claim the current rate of tax is the lowest allowed under EU law.

But campaigners calling for the tax to be scrapped argue that tampons should not be considered a luxury item and should therefore be exempt from tax.

Laura Coryton, whose petition ‘Stop Taxing Periods’ has attracted 258,980 signatures, said: “Periods are no luxury. You can ‘opt-in’ to extravagance. You cannot choose to menstruate.”

Mrs Miller told The Gazette that she welcomes the Government's support for reducing VAT to zero on all sanitary wear.

Speaking after the failed amendment by the Labour party, she said: "It's unclear why Labour is just calling for more reports to be written on this issue. The Government has pledged to apply to the EU to be able to apply zero VAT on all sanitary wear in the UK to end yet another example of the EU interfering in matters best determined in our own parliament.

"I am pleased that it is a Conservative Government now able to take action."

An online poll run on The Gazette website revealed that more than 90 per cent of our readers believe that sanitary products should not be taxed.