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No. I must make some progress. I have given way on several occasions.
Hon. Members will not be surprised to hear that one of the Prime Minister's Ministers last night described those pledges as
a massive hostage to fortune.
In the meantime, those who have pored over Hansard this morning, as I have, will have noted that the Prime Minister had nothing to say of any consequence about the case that is before the European Court of Justice. What will happen to the cull programme if the United Kingdom Government are successful in that case? Will it stop? However much Ministers dodge and weave, they must give a direct answer this evening to that question.
The compensation package now under discussion in Luxembourg is of critical importance. Everyone must agree that the specialist beef producers are still losing huge sums and must be properly compensated for the effects that the Government's actions have had on them. Ministers must give an explicit assurance tonight that they accept the principle so robustly stated this afternoon by the Country Landowners Association:
compensations must put farmers back where they were, in economic terms, no more no less.
The sober conclusion of those directly affected by Florence is that the continuation of the absurd war games could have led to even worse results. But we are surely far from out of the wood yet.