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Orders of the Day — BSE Crisis

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:34 pm on 17th February 1997.

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Photo of John Home Robertson John Home Robertson , East Lothian 5:34 pm, 17th February 1997

The Minister of Agriculture must be getting desperate if he has to wheel out a former Foreign Secretary and a former Chief Whip to defend him.

I had hoped, when the right hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Mr. Jopling) rose to speak, that he would throw some light on his part in this sorry saga, because I thought that he was the Minister of Agriculture when BSE was first identified. What advice did he get and what did he do to contain this evil crisis? Could he have nipped it in the bud? He did not tell us. Instead, he told us that my hon. Friend the Member for Peckham (Ms Harman) was responsible. She is an important and distinguished Opposition Front Bencher, but it is infantile to suggest that she could influence the beef market on mainland Europe to that extent.