15 July 1998
Cunningham attacked for missing beef debate

By FWi staff and Press Association

AGRICULTURE minister Dr Jack Cunningham has come under fire for not attending yesterdays House of Commons debate on the future of the beef industry – for a second time.

Dr Cunningham failed to attend yesterdays Commons debate which was on the agriculture select committees report on the future of the beef industry.

In February, at the height of the farmers rallies throughout Britain, Dr Cunningham was criticised for failing to attend a Commons debate on mad cows disease.

Tory James Gray (Wiltshire N) yesterday pressed ministers on why Dr Cunningham was absent from the debate.

“Last time when we were discussing the beef-on-the-bone ban, he failed to turn up – and we discovered him in the smoking room, a large glass of brandy and cigar in hand, while the biggest crisis to face British beef farmers for many years was being debated in this House.

“I think it might have been nice if he had least shown us the good grace by turning up and sitting on the front bench for a short time to listen to some of the things that we are saying on the subject of beef farming,” he added.