Blair in Final showdown with French

5 November 1999

Blair in Final showdown with French

TONY Blair is to use the Rugby World Cup Final as a staging post to get France to lift its ban on British beef.

He will use the occasion at Cardiffs Millennium Stadium this weekend to press both Jacques Chirac, the French president, and Lionel Jospin, the French prime minister, on the issue.

Both are expected at Cardiff after Frances shock defeat of the favourites, New Zealand, last week.

A four-strong team of senior civil servants last night flew out to Brussels to persuade French officials that British beef is safe.

Ben Gill, president of the National Farmers Union, last night made an appeal to David Byrne, the European Unions food safety commissioner.

Mr Gill called on him to seek the authority at next Wednesdays meeting of the European Commission to take immediate legal action against the French if they failed to lift the ban.

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