1 December 2000
Media digests Chirac’s lamb menu

By FWi staff

THE reason why French President Jacques Chirac was not served beef while visiting Tony Blair is chewed over by Britains newspapers.

Europes BSE controversy and the continuing French ban against British beef – both apparently discussed by the two men – receive little coverage.

The papers instead focus on the fact that Mr Chirac enjoyed a meal of lamb with the Prime Minister at The County pub, Aycliffe, County Durham.

The Daily Mail reports that farmers and fuel protestors turned up determined to embarrass Mr Blair, despite the presence of Special Branch officers.

“For a Prime Minister who famously proclaimed he likes nothing better than a bag of fish and chips, playing the informal host should have been easy.”

But the Daily Express says: “Thanks to a chef with as much diplomatic nous as gastronomic guile, beef was definitely off the menu.”

The Daily Telegraph reports that chef Andrew Brown, who trained under Raymond Blanc, said beef was not served “because of the political situation.”

The Financial Times says that Mr Chirac volunteered to journalists: “I never said I wouldnt eat any British beef.”

Up to 50 farmers and fuel protestors turned up at the event.

An egg was thrown at the Prime Minister as he entered the pub. It missed and hit a wall.

The Express says: “Until last night, Aycliffes greatest claim to fame was as the birthplace of an extraordinary breed of shorthorned cattle called the Durham Ox, the pride of British beef.”