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Dear Mary,
 
From Warmwell,  Feb 27th 2005 :
 
Michael Portillo's comment in the Sunday Times sums up very well the current bewilderment over the government's authoritarian stance. "puzzlement gripped Labour’s back benches last week. Brian Sedgemore lamented that “the unthinkable, the unimaginable” is happening here and talked of “new Labour’s descent into hell”.
 
I'd just to ask why Charles Clarke thinks he needs new laws to place people under "house Arrest" ?
 
These powers already exist and were used during FMD 2001............... the Form A and Form 37B.   Under the Animal Health Act,   a person placed under one of these Forms has no right appeal and can be arrested if they break any of the numerous regulations contained in the Forms,  which,  when used on a contiguous farm where no animal disease is present,  are a total breach of human rights.
 
The powers of the Form A and Form 37B are so great that they do not even allow access onto a farm by the emergency services,  and a special licence has to be applied for ............. in our case it took ten days to get a licence for an ambulance to come onto our farm !   
 
If Labour's backbenchers are so shocked about the new powers being proposed in the anti-terror laws,  why didn't they say anything during FMD 2001 when thousands of farmers were imprisoned on their farms for months on end.     Not one MP said a thing.  
 
We lived under a Form A and then a Form 37B for twelve months.    Our farm animals did not have FMD,  yet they were all slaughtered.   The Form A was issued by a vet at our farm gate without him even having seen our animals.    When we put in a formal complaint to the RCVS against the vet,  David Fields,   who placed us under the Form A which declared our farm an "Infected Premises",  he wrote to the RCVS and said that  " Form A's can be placed on a farm by anyone in a position of authority,  even a policeman with no knowledge of animal health can issue a Form A."   
In other words,  you do not need to live on a farm,  or even own any animals,  to be put under indefinite "house arrest",  with no access to appeal or the legal system,  and this can be done by any "person in authority".    We used two QC's and a Barrister and even they were unable to remove the Form 37B from our home !  
 
So, Mr Clarke,  why not just use the existing powers which this Government already has ? 
 
New Labour "descended into hell"  in 2001,  and took thousands of farmers and millions of farm animals with it.
  
 
best wishes,
 
Didi Phillips
 
Higher Fonstone Farm
Warbstow
Cornwall