3 October 2000
Newspapers consider Phillips report

By FWi staff

THE handing over of the BSE inquiry report prepared by the committee chaired by Lord Phillips to ministers is reported in many of the morning newspapers.

Agriculture Minister Nick Brown and Health Secretary Alan Milburn thanked Lord Phillips and his team for their thorough examination of the issues.

They confirmed that the Government will publish the report at an early opportunity once the House of Commons returns.

The Independent devotes a page to coverage, recounting the history of the crisis and speculating criticism former ministers face.

The most recent death from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human form of BSE, in the cluster of cases in the village of Queniborough, Leicestershire, is also considered.

Christopher Reeve, who died at the age of 24, would bunk off school to work on a local farm and was “a wonderful breeder”, reports The Independent.

A new care package for victims of vCJD disease is expected to form an important element of the response of Health Secretary Alan Milburn to the report, says The Times.

Ministers have accepted complaints over a lack of uniformity of healthcare provision across the country, it says.

Families of the 86 victims to date – some of whom are still alive – are hoping for an apology and compensation from the Government.

In an editorial, The Times warns of the danger that the 16-volume report may only be published hours before the parliamentary debate.

This would give the Opposition, those criticised, and journalists little time to read the report, which took written evidence from 630 witnesses and oral evidence from 333.

The report should be made available on the Internet and, under embargo, to both the Opposition and the press at least by 8am if there is to be any worthwhile debate.

Otherwise the three-year, 27 million study “will be seen less as way of rectifying long-term problems and more of an excuse for an unproductive blame game,” it claims.