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Orders of the Day — BSE Crisis

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:34 pm on 17th February 1997.

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Photo of Mr Paul Marland Mr Paul Marland , Gloucestershire West 7:34 pm, 17th February 1997

If ever I heard a speech in which a Labour Member has cried for the return of the nanny state, the speech of the hon. Member for Pendle (Mr. Prentice) was it. It is a cry for ever more regulation and ever more cost. I only hope that he cleared that speech with the shadow Chancellor.

There is absolutely no doubt that the Labour party has demonstrated in this debate that it cares nothing for farmers and seeks only to crank up fear in consumers' minds. As for quoting Farmers Weekly editorials, I remember very well when the House was attempting to introduce milk quotas—which are now one of dairy farmers' most valuable assets—and farmers and Farmers Weekly objected. Quoting back issues of Farmers Weekly does not cut much ice on the Conservative Benches.

Echoing in a sense what my right hon. Friend the Member for Wells (Mr. Heathcoat-Amory) said about the heavy representation of Somerset in the House, I do not want hon. Members to think that I am speaking only for myself. As neither my hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Clifton—Brown) nor my hon. Friend the Member for Stroud (Mr. Knapman) is eligible to speak in the debate because of their duties, I am also voicing their opinions, and therefore represent 75 per cent. of Gloucestershire Members of Parliament.