26 April 2001
Blair denies plan to scrap MAFF

By FWi staff

TONY BLAIR has dismissed as “nonsense” speculation that the Ministry of Agriculture would be abolished after the general election.

The Prime Minister was responding to a question from Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy during Prime Ministers Questions on Wednesday (25 April).

A report in The Times claimed MAFF was to be replaced with a rural affairs department headed by current Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon.

According to the report, Mr Hoons brief would be to fundamentally reform farming, with some aspects of the industry hived off to other departments.

In Prime Ministers Questions Mr Kennedy also suggested that Scotland had provided a more co-ordinated approach to tackling foot-and-mouth.

Mr Blair said it was not possible to compare outbreaks on both sides of the border as the disease was confined to one part of Scotland.

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