I had this e-mail sent earlier in response to my comments concerning the lack of an EP enquiry herein Cumbria. I attach my reply for your information

Dear Mr Green,

Your email concerning the visit by the European Parliament's Temporary Committee on Foot and Mouth Disease was forwarded to me by Caroline Lucas, MEP (copied below). I am the EPP-ED Advisor to this Committee and would like to take this opportunity to clarify things for you. (As you may know, the EPP-ED is the largest political entity in the European Parliament with 233 MEPs and consists of centre-right parties. The British Conservatives are allied Members. It was the EPP-ED that pushed for - and got - a Committee on Foot and Mouth disease set up in the Parliament.)

The reason why there will be no public meeting in Cumbria is simply because the Socialist Group - driven by their Labour contingent - opposed the very idea of having ANY public meetings at all ANYWHERE. (You might be aware that the Socialist Group - the second largest Group in the Parliament - opposed the idea of having a committee to examine the FMD crisis and even voted en bloc to stop it being set up.) The public meeting at Gretna was a compromise reached by the political groups out here but there were further elements in this compromise. One such element is the fact that there will be a large meeting in Cumbria on the morning of Saturday 20 April (foreseen to take place at the Castle Green Hotel). 50 people from Cumbria will be invited to this meeting by the political groups - the total being divided up among the groups on the basis of their numerical strength in the Parliament.

True, this is not technically a public meeting but the fact is that 50 local people who were affected by the crisis will be able to meet with the EP Delegation. Obviously, we would have liked full public meetings in all the areas we will be visiting but Labour and their allies in Europe prevented this from taking place.

I am aware that an inaccurate version of the adopted programme was circulated which did not spell out the fact that 50 people are to be invited to the Saturday morning Cumbria meeting.

I hope this clears matters up a little.

Best regards,
Alwyn Strange
EPP-ED Secretariat

Dear Mr Strange,

I thank you for your prompt explanation. I only wish our own government & DEFRA were so timely in answering our questions! I have been waiting nearly 6 weeks for a reply to some questions I have forwarded to Mr Elliot Morley, Parliamentaery Under Secretary of State (DEFRA). My apologies for digressing!

The press release made by The Cumberland News was indeed inaccurate; this is not a novel occurence for this newspaper!

I note the reasons you give for no public meeting in Cumbria. It is now so obvious that Mr Blair will do absolutely anything to avoid the truth from being divulged, as we know only too well here on the ground, Mr Brown's and Scudamore`s lies on the 25th/26th March are now so commonplace as to be expected! No doubt Mr Gill will continue this theme next week in Strasbourg! Perhaps it would have been more appropriate if Mr Blair himself, who after all "took personal control", had given evidence as well. Perhaps Mr Blair`s memory may have served him poorly as well!

I also take note that 50 people will be invited to attend the EP delegation in Kendal. 50 people invited! Does Mr Blair realise how many peoples lives were wrecked here in Cumbria? How many people were bullied by MAFF/DEFRA, how many lies were spun and how many very healthy animals were massacred during this crisis? He probably has some idea but clearly does not give a damn!

Forgive me for being so forthright Mr Strange, but here in the Eden valley and other parts of Cumbria, we are absolutely sick of a system that is only interested in protecting itself! I thank you sincerely for your help and again thank Dr Caroline Lucas who is working so hard to bring these undoubted liars to task!

Kind regards.

Nick Green