The European Parliament voted this morning by a large majority (390:155) to set up a Temporary Committee on Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). Speaking from Strasbourg after the vote, local Euro-MP Sir Robert Atkins said:

"It is good news for the future of British and European Agriculture that there will indeed be a full Public Inquiry into the causes of the FMD outbreak, and what went wrong.

The bad news has been the attitude of the Labour Party. First, the Labour Government refused widespread demands for an independent public inquiry in the UK. Then Labour MEPs fought hard to stop the European Parliament voting on whether to set up a committee at EU level. And finally in the vote itself, Labour MEPs failed to support the proposal.

Other EU Member States are increasingly convinced that the UK Government has something to hide. Now that we have this committee, I trust that the truth will emerge."

Note to Editors:

This cross-party, multi-national committee will examine the causes and consequences of the 2001 FMD outbreak in the UK, and recommend what lessons should be learned. To do this it will seek evidence from a wide range of sources, including Ministers from various Member State Governments, and will have access to the best available scientific expertise. It will be held in public.
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