09 March 1998
Judge calls on PM to extend BSE inquiry
By FWi staff
THE judge heading the BSE inquiry will ask Prime Minister Tony Blair for permission to extend the inquirys timetable by six months.
Opening the year-long inquiry today, Appeal Court Judge Lord Justice Phillips said a six-month extension was necessary because of the pile of evidence his team must sift through. He was originally expected to hand own his findings by December 30.
Lord Justice Phillips said after considering the amount of work to be done, he doesnt think he would be able to submit an accurate and comprehensive report in the time frame allocated.
“I am not prepared to contemplate a report that is superficial because it has been too rushed, and I dont believe that those who are anxiously looking forward to receiving this report would wish us to sacrifice thoroughness for speed,” he said at todays opening.
The inquiry — expected to cost over £2m — is already tipped to be one of the largest and most expensive held.
It was set up to establish and review the history of the emergence and identification of BSE and new variant CJD, the human equivalent of mad cow disease, in Britain.
The inquirys remit was to examine the actions of past and present ministers, civil servants and the food and farming industries in response to the emergence of BSE.
The disease has been confirmed in more than 170,000 cattle in Britain and has been linked to the deaths of 23 people.