Monthly newsletter Edition 3 Sir Robert reports:- Page 1

Robert Atkins reports:- Junior doctors were the beneficiaries of a recent vote at Strasbourg, when the Centre-Right group - including Tory MEP's - decided to apply a 48-hour limit on their working week, flying in the face of the Socialist-dominated Council of Ministers, who wish to maintain the status quo - at about 72 hours or more. (The BMA has written to thank me - letter enclosed).

This contrast with a Tory vote not to restrict the working hours of fishermen or offshore-rig workers, a policy requested by both industries whose employees fear for the future of their jobs if it were to be implemented. This affects our region which has its fair share of fish and gas. They will feel betrayed by North West Labour MEP's who refused to support their reasonable requirement. The amendment was lost by 28 votes and there are 29 British Labour MEP's!

The infuriating vacillation over British Beef continues and Tory MEP's have been at the forefront of the campaign to help our farmers. "Where the beef, Tony?" was the theme of our most recent demonstration at Strasbourg, together with Parliamentary pressure on Commissioner Byrne and public letters to French and German Ministers. Following the Commissioners Byrne and public letters to French and German Ministers. Following the Commissioner's proposed legal action against France, we were appalled - but not surprised - to learn that this was the 85th such action against the French - the worst record in the EU.

Three very useful visits earlier this month, to Cheshire, West Cumbria and East Lancashire. The first to meet Tory County and District Council Leaders and to hear about the problems and achievements at first-hand. This builds on regular meetings held before the European Elections. Secondly, to discuss with representatives of one of the most peripheral parts of the Region how best to maintain European funding for their area. (Annoyingly, there were no Conservatives present or indeed notified of our presence. You can make it abundantly clear to all Council Officers that I will not attend any such meeting in future unless Tory Councilors (if available) are invited). Thirdly, to explore local issues with new Conservative-controlled Hyndburn Council and its Leaders.

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