THE CHAIRMAN of the parliamentary environmental audit committee, Tory MP Peter Ainsworth, has criticised the Government‘s response to the committee‘s work.

While the committee was set up by the present government, its reports have not always been dignified with proper responses from the government, according to Mr Ainsworth.

He described the government‘s official response to the committee‘s critical report on GM crops as “very poor”.

“It effectively dismissed the Report without even bothering to answer several of its key points, and also deliberately misinterpreted several other points in an attempt to rubbish its conclusions and recommendations.”

Mr Ainsworth‘s criticisms were stated in a letter appended to the annual report for 2004 of the House of Commons Liaison Committee, published on Wednesday (March 16).

At the beginning of 2004, according to the letter, it was clear that the government and the select committee did not see eye to eye over the issue of the GM farm-scale trials and plans to allow GM herbicide-tolerant crops to be grown commercially in the UK.

“Indeed, the Government made a statement in the House only a few days after our Report was issued that effectively dismissed its conclusions and recommendations.”

Nonetheless, the letter makes clear that Mr Ainsworth believes the select committee report did contribute to a “more prudent” choice of GM policy from the government.