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Farron blasts Ministerial refusal to hold foot public and mouth enquiry

October 30, 2007 3:00 PM

Tim Farron, Lib Dem MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hill Farming has today received confirmation that DEFRA has no plans to establish a public inquiry into the circumstances around the foot and mouth outbreak this summer.

In a response to a parliamentary question from Mr Farron, the Under-Secretary of State for Rural Affairs, Jonathan Shaw stated that the department would be conducting an internal inquiry that will report to the Prime Minister before the end of 2007, but ruled out a full and open public inquiry.

Mr Farron said:

"I think this flat refusal to conduct a public inquiry into the cause of this crisis is a disgrace. The Government was clearly at fault for the outbreak in the first place, and should be held to account by an independent body.

"Ministers clearly think that the best way to learn from mistakes is to talk internally, but I couldn't disagree more. I think farmers up and down the country will be dismayed by the Governments failure to conduct a full inquiry in public. What have Ministers got to hide?"