13 October 1999
Gwyther faces censure over calves

EMBATTLED Welsh Assembly agriculture minister Christine Gwyther has come out fighting as she faces a motion of censure today.

Opponents calling for the motion are angry that Ms Gwyther failed to deliver on a unilateral Welsh calf processing scheme.

Franz Fischler, European agriculture commissioner, indicated that a request for a scheme would have to come from Westminster.

But Ms Gwyther accuses critics of killing the idea before Mr Fischler had given a final response.

Speaking to Radio 4s Farming Today, she said: “It was effectively killed by the opposition parties who insisted we gave a categoric yes or no, when we were still waiting for news from Fischler.

“The Assembly has effectively ruled it out.”

Ms Gwyther stood by her record in the affair: “If trying your best and going to the line for Wales is not the mark of a good secretary, I really dont know what is.

“Its regrettable of course that we havent got it, and nobody regrets it more than I do. But we took it as far as we could.”

“I dont think theres a lack of confidence in me. What were looking at is the opposition parties trying to grab the rural ground, which they think is theirs by right.”

As a vegetarian, Ms Gwyther was a controversial appointment as farming and rural affairs minister.

The Farmers Union of Wales demanded her resignation in May.