Ainsworth: Beckett's arrogant dismissal of Devon Inquiry

Margaret Beckett, the Secretary of State for DEFRA has dismissed the conclusions of the Devon inquiry into last year's Foot and Mouth outbreak as reflecting only "local views".

In her answer to a Parliamentary Question from the Shadow DEFRA Secretary, Peter Ainsworth MP, Mrs Beckett stated: "I am afraid I do not accept those conclusions."

Commenting on Mrs Beckett's statement, Mr Ainsworth said:

"This is a bland and arrogant insult to Devon County Council's efforts to explain what went wrong during the foot and mouth crisis.

"Maybe she would have accepted Devon's conclusions if her Government had attended the inquiry; it was Ministers' shameful refusal to take part that hampered its search for the truth. Perhaps she is simply unhappy that the findings described a catalogue of errors made by government officials.

"It adds insult to injury that the Government will not accept Devon's conclusions, while continuing to dismiss calls for an independent public inquiry. It seems that Ministers are in no hurry to reach any conclusions whatsoever about the foot and mouth outbreak." ENDS