05 June 1998
Early move over beef-on-bone ban rejected
By Brian Brady, Press Association
ANY hopes for early action to lift the Governments ban on the sale of beef on the bone were dashed by Agriculture Minister Dr Jack Cunningham yesterday.
He told the Commons at question time that the bar, introduced last year, remained under review along with all measures taken against “mad cow disease”.
But he insisted the chances of the ban being lifted depended on future scientific advances or developments in the fight against BSE.
Dr Cunningham said in response to a call by Tory Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury) for a review: “The Beef Bones Regulations are kept under review as is the case with all BSE-related regulations.
“Any future decision will be taken in the light of scientific developments and progress with the eradication of BSE.”
Dr Cunningham also won praise from Speaker Betty Boothroyd when he refused to comment on a court challenge to the ban.
Labours Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow) asked for “a generous word” for hotelier Jim Sutherland, who successfully challenged the ban in Selkirk Sheriff Court in April, and the Sheriff who made the decision.
The minister said: “Since the case is sub judice and the subject under appeal I am not going to comment one way or another.”
To laughter from across the House, Miss Boothroyd said: “Well done.”