22 May 1998

Cunningham is top of poll for unpopularity

FARM minister Jack Cunningham has been voted the most unpopular minister of agriculture for the past 10 years in a survey conducted by agro-chemical manufacturer Cyanamid.

Producers were invited to pass their judgment on the past six most recent ministers starting with John Gummer.

And, there was apparently no question of the result being too close to call – Dr Cunningham was the clear leader taking 55% of the vote.

Banning beef on the bone, together with allegations laid against him that he has withheld £139m of farm support, were two of the most common reasons given by respondents.

Douglas Hogg, who was in office when the BSE crisis broke, took second place in the voting winning a third of the votes but Gillian Shephard and William Waldegrave were largely forgotten taking only 3% of the vote. However, the least known minister is John MacGregor who took less than 1%.