"French ban on British Lamb delayed because of MEP pressure"

The news that France has suddenly postponed any ban on imports of British lamb has been claimed as a great victory by Conservative MEPs.

Speaking from the European Parliament in Brussels, local Conservative Euro-MP Sir Robert Atkins said: "Conservative MEPs asked EU Health Commissioner David Byrne to confirm that British lamb posed no risk to public health whatever, and that any ban by the French would be in clear breach of European law. We then rapidly backed this up with a face-to-face meeting a couple of days ago with EU Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler: he confirmed his full-hearted support for an early hearing by the European Court if the French ban went ahead.

This message clearly got through to France, which is why they have backed down at the last minute. Meanwhile we have urged the Commission to slap a hefty fine on France in fifteen days time if they fail to lift the ban on British beef: let us hope that this pressure has a similar effect. If the UK Government had acted with greater vigour earlier, the ban would have been lifted a long time ago."

ENDS

Note to Editor: France said it would ban imports of British lamb over six months old with effect from 1st July unless the spinal chord was removed, a process which would downgrade the value of the meat and effectively make British lamb unsaleable. This was paraded as a measure to safeguard public health, but in reality was just another protectionist measure to placate French sheep farmers.

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