22 September 1998
‘Lord Sewel should resign or be sacked’ — Kennedy

By FWi staff

SCOTTISH farm Minister Lord Sewel should resign or be sacked, Liberal Democrat agriculture spokesman Charles Kennedy said today (Tuesday).

“Lord Sewel exudes arrogance and ignorance in near equal measure,” Mr Kennedy told delegates at the Liberal Democrat Party conference in Brighton.

“He is a disaster for Scottish agriculture,” said Mr Kennedy. “He should resign now or be sacked.”

Lord Sewel has been heavily criticised over recent months by Scottish farmers, who claim he is out of touch with the crisis in agriculture.

Last month, pig farmers rejected Lord Sewels claims that they can market themselves out of the current crisis in the industry. Many producers said they needed to know whether the Government would do something to help UK pig farmers stay in business.

At the Royal Highland Show in June, Lord Sewel infuriated farmers by claiming many of them were better off today than they were six years ago.

“No Government can somehow cushion or absolve agriculture from the inevitable fluctuation – the ups and downs – of the economic cycle,” he said. “I recognise the pain that the high Pound is causing, but I do think we ought to remember that agriculture is not alone.”

In May, Lord Sewel was snubbed by the organisers of Beef 98, held in Fife. Instead the event was opened by Scottish Secretary Donald Dewar.

“I think he knows his farm minister could do more to improve relations between Government and the industry,” said Scottish Beef Council chairman John Cameron.

“We made it clear if Mr Dewar could not attend, then we did not want Lord Sewell,” Mr Cameron added.