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Release time: Immed

Released by: Peter Ainsworth MP

Date:20 February 2002










Conservatives launch web campaign to listen to farmers


One year ago today, the first case of Foot and Mouth disease was officially confirmed. Yesterday, the Shadow DEFRA team examined import controls at Heathrow airport and visited farmers who were directly affected by the disease in Devon, to hear their accounts first hand.


Today the Conservatives have launched a web campaign to allow those who have suffered so much over the past year to have their voices heard in Westminster and help shape Conservative ideas on the future of rural Britain.


The Shadow DEFRA Secretary, Peter Ainsworth MP, said:


"The one group whose voice needs to be heard better at this time, are the people who live and work in the countryside.


"It seems ridiculous that we can have policy commissions and papers drawn up on the future of farming, without meaningful consultation with the people on the ground. It is of fundamental importance that their opinions, and not just those of the Great and the Good', are fed into the decision-making process.


"The Conservative Party are undergoing a comprehensive policy review. We want our rural policies to reflect the feelings and hopes of rural people. This website, called 'Rural Future,' gives rural communities a direct line into Westminster.


"The Labour Government's arrogant approach has led to a complete breakdown of trust between the rural community and the political process. Mending this relationship will be an essential first step in restoring confidence to the countryside. We are determined to offer fresh thinking, and this website represents a commitment to work with the rural community to deliver policies that work.




Notes to editors


The web address is


For further information contact Mark Leech on 020 7984 8067 or 07941 285907