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Foot and Mouth

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:14 pm on 21st June 2001.

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Photo of Margaret Beckett Margaret Beckett The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 12:14 pm, 21st June 2001

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his welcome for the change in movement restrictions. I assure him that, although it has not featured particularly in today's statement for obvious reasons--I have been seeking to give the House the opportunity to consider what has been happening in the interim period--we are all mindful of the further developments that will naturally be taking place in agriculture, and of the impact that they will have on the market. I cannot give him an announcement today, but I can certainly tell him that the Government are mindful of the seriousness of the issues that he raises, and that we are keeping them under active consideration.

On who is the de facto Minister of Agriculture, I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for highlighting the strength of my excellent ministerial team. He is right in detecting that my noble Friend Lord Whitty will be dealing day to day with many of the issues, but we are conscious as a ministerial team that there is much overlap and we intend to work closely together to keep a close grip on the issues. With regard to who speaks in this House, it will primarily and usually be me.