Oral Answers to Questions — Engagements

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th March 2001.

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Photo of William Hague William Hague Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Conservative Party 12:00 am, 14th March 2001

May I join the Prime Minister in his tribute to everyone who is working so hard to try to prevent the spread of foot and mouth disease?

Since we last discussed the matter two weeks ago at Question Time, there is no doubt that we are in the grip of a national crisis. We have supported, and continue to support, the measures that the Government have taken, but, given that the spread of the disease is clearly not yet under control, will the Prime Minister consider several additional measures to control it more tightly and to use more of the available resources for dealing with it? Will he clarify this morning's announcement on slaughtering policy and consider more urgently whether the time has come to adopt not a relaxation, but an intensification, which the hon. Member for Carlisle (Mr. Martlew) has proposed—to adopt a policy of slaughter immediately a vet believes, on the clinical evidence rather than on the basis of laboratory tests, that there is foot and mouth, as was the practice in 1967?