Former UK Minister addresses EU Public Inquiry in Brussels -

Former Minister of Agriculture, Nick Brown, was summoned to the EU Public Inquiry, meeting in Brussels on Tuesday.

Local Conservative Euro-MP, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Atkins, who was present at the Inquiry and urged successfully that the Committee should visit North West England, said: "The Minister claimed that the Government had acted decisively and effectively throughout the outbreak, and refused to admit that anything could have been done better. It was an unconvincing performance. He sidestepped questions about why he refused to call the army in earlier, and why the Government has opposed every call for a Public Inquiry back in the UK. He made no mention whatever of any lessons learnt from the 1967 outbreak, and made no apology for the heartless treatment of some farmers affected by the contiguous cull policy.

The only good news was his pledge that there would be no more funeral pyres if ever the epidemic struck again. We all remember the ghastly pictures of burning animals. This is a welcome statement - but he did not specify whether in future more carcasses would need to be buried and if so where. Would Great Orton Airfield in Cumbria need to be opened up again?

Finally he did agree to come back and testify again if necessary. This may well be required given the evasiveness of his replies today."

At Sir Robert's request, members of the EU Public Inquiry Committee will be in Cumbria on April 19th and 20th to visit sites, farms and markets and to take evidence from those affected.

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