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Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 5:29 pm on 25th June 1996.

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Photo of Tony Baldry Tony Baldry Minister of State (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) 5:29 pm, 25th June 1996

I must make some progress. The Liberal Democrats have been dishing up dirt for the past 40 minutes; they must now hear the facts.

The Times carried the headline, Ministers set to back killing of 4 million cattle", and the headline in the Daily Express was Millions of cows facing slaughter". Other newspapers carried similar headlines. The hon. Member for North Cornwall quoted Boris Johnson from today's edition of The Daily Telegraph and suggested that my right hon. and learned Friend had called for the culling of 4 million bovines. Any hon. Member who takes the time to read the interview will see that that is complete fiction: my right hon. and learned Friend said nothing of the sort. We must ask ourselves, who governs this country: the House or the misrepresenting media?

The Liberal Democrats do not have to think about those issues. They have not been in government for more than 70 years and they do not know the first thing about real responsibility. That is why they engage in gutter politics. When they discuss policy, they become the laughing stock of the nation. In fact, I am amazed that the Liberals were in government as recently as 70 years ago. The debate shows that they are an old, clapped-out party.