Animal Health Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 7th October 2002.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Peyton of Yeovil Lord Peyton of Yeovil Conservative 6:15 pm, 7th October 2002

I find that answer slightly disappointing. In moving the amendment my noble friend made it clear that she did not think there was the slightest chance of the Government accepting the amendment. Even with her persuasiveness and charm she was unable to move the immovable object opposite her. I had hoped—I do not think it is unreasonable—that in the circumstances that the government amendments are not ready now, the Minister should take advantage of the situation by saying that at least some of the points raised by my noble friend would be incorporated in those amendments. Clearly in their state of unreadiness there is home in them for such good sense.

I particularly mention two points to which the Minister did not refer—that is, the three-yearly review of the world-wide incidence of each of the diseases mentioned in Schedule 2A and the resultant recommendation of steps to be taken in the United Kingdom to prevent the incidence of each disease. Both points are important and I should like to hear something about the Government's intentions in regard to them.

I was rather surprised that the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Hereford should allow his optimism to overleap his good nature and say that the Bill had some prospects of ever being made user friendly. That is going far too far beyond the boundaries of reality. I hope that the right reverend Prelate, whose opinions I greatly respect and to a large extent share, will not be so unrealistic in the future.

Before I sit down I should like to say a word about my noble friend Lord Jopling, whom I have known for many years. When I had the misfortune of being the shadow agriculture Minister, he had the misfortune of helping me to avoid mistakes. One does not often see former Ministers going out of their way to express regret and sorrow at not taking a certain sensible course of action. Tonight, my noble friend clearly said how sorry he was that even though he had the good sense to ask whether there was an adequate contingency plan, he accepted an assurance that there was without asking to take a look at it and having it published. I am sure that was a pity.

My final point to the Minister is on the vexed issue of meat imports. They cause great irritation and if on top of that they are a source of danger, that would be absolutely intolerable.