20 December 2001
Jones tops farmers popularity poll

By FWi staff

WELSH Assembly Rural Affairs minister Carwyn Jones has been named as best politician of the year by farmers in Wales.

Mr Jones topped the vote in a survey conducted by the Farmers Union of Wales during the Royal Welsh Winter Fair.

Producers were asked to choose between Tony Blair, Nick Brown, Carwyn Jones and Margaret Beckett on grounds of trustworthiness and performance.

Farmers said that Mr Jones had done a good job despite calls for his resignation over the dumping of foot-and-mouth carcasses in mid Wales.

“There is no doubt that Carwyn Jones is considered to be this years Christmas cracker,” an FUW spokesman told BBC Wales.

The popularity of Mr Jones among farmers contrasts with their attitude towards his controversial predecessor Christine Gwyther.

Many farmers were unhappy that Ms Gwyther was a vegetarian and she was accused of falsely raising farmers hopes of introducing a calf processing scheme.

Ms Gwyther further enraged producers by saying that farming provided almost nothing to the Welsh economy before she was replaced in July 2000.

The FUW poll also provided some comfort for Mr Brown, agriculture minister during the early months of the foot-and-mouth crisis.

Despite being pushed aside in the Cabinet reshuffle after the General Election, farmers placed him second, saying he had done an adequate job.

Third placed Mr Blair was deemed “less than adequate” while Mrs Beckett was judged “poor” and placed last.