MPs call Johnston McNeill as a witness in their single farm payment investigation

The former head of the Rural Payments Agency has been ordered to appear before a committee of MPs to give his account of the events which led up to the single farm payment crisis.

Johnston McNeill, who was removed from office by Margaret Beckett in March, will appear before the environment, food and rural affairs select committee on 20 November.

Mr McNeill was forced out of office following his admission that the RPA would not manage to get the bulk of payments out to farmers by the end of March 2006.

Mrs Beckett, who was then DEFRA secretary, said he needed to go as the situation was unacceptable and the RPA needed stronger leadership.

The meeting will be the first time that Mr McNeill has spoken publicly about the issue since his departure.

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