5 April 2002

Health Bill stalemate

MINISTERS are unlikely to reintroduce the controversial Animal Health Bill despite their claims that without it the UK will be in a weaker position if there is another foot-and-mouth outbreak.

The House of Lords managed to bring the Bills passage though parliament to a halt shortly before Easter when peers voted in favour of an amendment that the Bill should be stopped until the outcome of a number of the inquiries into F&M was known.

A DEFRA spokesman said it was very unlikely the Bill would be brought forward again in the immediate future.

"There are no plans at the moment to resurrect the Bill in the current parliamentary session although we are still looking at options." &#42

Whether it would be brought forward in the next session would depend on the amount of parliamentary business, he added.