Blair out to woo Alliance

5 December 2000

‘Blair out to woo Alliance’

By FWi staff

TONY BLAIR is out to woo the Countryside Alliance and bolster his Governments rural credentials, reports The Times.

The newspaper says this strategy is seen in the inclusion of the groups chief executive, Richard Burge, at a Downing Street meeting on the Rural White Paper.

It says Mr Blair is keen to use the Alliances network of rural co-ordinators to boost the role of parish councils and ensure they represent their communities.

Environment minister Michael Meacher believes there is much common ground between the organisation and the Government.

He has told officials that he intends to join the planned alliance march on 18 March, reports The Times.

Meanwhile, The Daily Telegraph says the Alliance will hold the rally whether or not the Government includes a Bill to ban hunting in Wednesdays (08 December) Queens Speech.

On Tuesday, the group dismissed newspaper reports that it might accept the abolition of hunting in return for assistance on other rural issues, such as farming.

In the Daily Mail, writer and barrister John Mortimer dismisses a proposed hunting ban as “utterly uncalled-for and unnecessary”.

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