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PRESS RELEASE embargoed until noon28.8.01
THE CAMPAIGN FOR THE TRUTH ABOUT FOOT & MOUTH
CAMPAIGN FOR A MULTI-MILLION PETITION TO PARLIAMENT FROM PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THE UNITED KINGDOM FOR A FULLY INDEPENDENT, IMPARTIAL AND TRANSPARENT PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO THE FOOT & MOUTH DISEASE OUTBREAK
SUPPORTED BY: THE COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE, THE BASC, THE NATIONAL FARMERS UNION & OTHER ORGANISATIONS
LAUNCH: 12 NOON, TUESDAY 28TH AUGUST 2001 THE MACMILLAN ROOM, PORTCULLIS HOUSE, WESTMINSTER
CHAIRED BY: BILL CASH MP, LADY APSLEY with representatives from the above organisations
A National Campaign for a multi-million signature Petition to be presented to The Houses of Parliament, demanding a Public Inquiry into the Foot & Mouth disaster, will be launched at 12 noon, 28th August 2001 in The Macmillan Room, Portcullis House.
The Foot & Mouth outbreak has created havoc throughout the United Kingdom, to the farming and rural communities, to the tourist industry, to the business community and to the environment. It has caused massive damage to these and to the economy of the United Kingdom as a whole.
It is essential that, as a matter of urgent national importance, there is established a fully independent, impartial and transparent Public Inquiry under the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921 which has proper rules of procedure, including the power to call and compel witnesses on oath and to require the production of papers and evidence;
a) To analyse the causes, the progress and the administration of the outbreak and the adequacy of measures taken to investigate and to remedy the outbreak;
b) With terms of reference no less than those provided by the three inquiries into the Foot & Mouth Disease outbreak and the future of farming set up by the Government, and to make recommendations for the prevention of any recurrence, with respect to financial compensation and relief for all those affected and the European Union rules which apply in this respect, and as regards the future of agriculture and connected interests and those of the rural, tourist and business community and the environment.
The reason that a Public Inquiry needs to be established as described above is because the Government has failed, despite widespread calls from inside and outside Parliament, to provide a proper, comprehensive and independent public inquiry. What is needed, through such an inquiry, is to get to the root of what went wrong and why, and to do everything necessary to prevent a recurrence, with recommendations about financial compensation.
(The Campaign for the Truth About Foot & Mouth Press Release page 2)
The Government has set up three inquiries, none of which will achieve these fuller objectives, or do so in the comprehensive manner called for in the Petition. The Government calls these inquiries independent, yet they are established without any apparent statutory authority and are gravely deficient in many respects:
1) The Anderson Inquiry into the lessons to be learned is effectively a governmental inquiry working with the Cabinet Office. He will report directly to the Prime Minister and Mrs Beckett at some indefinite time in the future, with his formal inquiry beginning no sooner than until the outbreak is over. Furthermore, there are no prescribed impartial rules of procedure for taking evidence. This is not a public inquiry and it is not independent.
2) The Royal Society Inquiry (The Scientific Review), has to make recommendations to the Prime Minister and Mrs. Beckett by summer 2002, but again, there are no prescribed impartial rules of procedure for taking evidence. This is not a public inquiry and it is not independent.
3) The Policy Commission (on the future of farming and food), which is to report to the Prime Minister and Mrs. Beckett by 31st December 2001, only covers England, sets its own working methods and is supported, once again, by The Cabinet Office. It has no prescribed impartial rules of procedure for taking evidence. This is not a public inquiry and it is not independent.
These Government Inquiries simply will not do. They are not impartial. They fall disgracefully short of what is required and, because they do not have proper machinery for the taking of evidence in public of the kind laid down in the 1921 Act, no confidence can be placed in their reports and findings.
Inquiries should be made to Christopher Graffius or the Press Office at The BASC Tel: 01244-573000
Copies of this Petition are available from:
The Foot & Mouth Truth Campaign
PO Box 30
Glos GL7 2YZ
Or visit the following websites:
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