Monthly newsletter Edition 20 Sir Robert reports:- Page 2

The Parliamentary Committee on Foot & Mouth was in Cumbria last week, taking evidence, inspecting sites, visiting markets and farms and listening to those most involved in the epidemic. Despite the constant attempts by the Labour Party, both in Parliament and the region, to smear, diminish or destroy the credibility of this independent Inquiry, Members saw and heard a great deal. Contributors varied from County Council Leader, Rex Toft, to farmers and hoteliers and through to local priests, vets, valuers, council officers and the media and they spoke from the heart. Committee Members - from all over the EU and from all political parties - were shocked at the size, speed and devastation of the disease, as well as the Government's mismanagement, and intend to pose some pointed questions to the appropriate authorities in due course.

Another duty visit to the NW Regional Assembly last month, this time to witness the Labour/Liberal alliance seeking to convert the Development Agency into a Company Limited by Guarantee. Despite the heroic efforts of Tory Councillors, the red brethren got their way and, eventually, some of them will become Company Directors. Dedicated old Labour supporters will be spinning in their graves! But the empire-building goes on, the talking goes on, the bureaucracy goes on and, of course, the cost goes on and up.

The tremors following the first round result in the French Presidential Election are reverberating around Parliament as the "European Establishment" tries to come to terms with the implications of M. Le Pen's vote. Is this the resurgence of fascism, the spread of racialism, the rise of nationalism, the beginning of the end of the Grand Design? I prefer to conclude that it was simply an expression of French frustration with two inadequate leading Candidates, one tarred with sleaze and the other plain boring. In the event, surely the result is that the two extremes will have been crushed and the French Presidency remains in the hands of the sensible right?

Dulcie and I were invited last month to visit the site of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester and to inspect the progress of the development. The event itself takes place between July 25th and August 4th when it will be the focus of world sport. We saw the Stadium and the Swimming Pool which are truly magnificent architectural creations and which will allow participants and spectators alike to enjoy the competition in fine style and comfort.

The sadness of the deaths of the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret should not prevent us from celebrating the Queen's Golden Jubilee with full vigour. Her Majesty's duty to our country and its people is an example that many people in public life could do well to emulate. If you are not making a Jubilee contribution in some way, give it some thought and join in. Better still, organise it and let the world see how much we value our Monarchy and Sovereign - and raise some money for charity!

Many "happy returns" to everyone fighting in the Council Elections!

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