03 March 1999
Blair to name landowner as rural chief

TONY BLAIR is set to enrage ramblers and his own backbenchers party by appointing a big landowner as the governments new countryside chief.

Ewen Cameron will be a controversial choice because he has a record of opposition to the right to roam, a manifesto commitment of the government.

Mr Cameron is a Somerset farmer and a former president of the Country Landowners Association.

More than 45 Labour MPs have signed a Commons motion claiming Mr Cameron planted potatoes across a public footpath on his Somerset farm.

His appointment is also likely to meet objections from Michael Meacher, the environment minister, who will reveal right-to-roam legislation next week.