19 October 1998
Meldrum withholds evidence from BSE Inquiry
By FWi staff
THE BSE Inquiry has been refused access to a taped interview in which the Governments former Chief Veterinary Officer, Keith Meldrum, discusses how past ministers reacted to the crisis.
Mr Meldrum today denied he was involved in a cover-up which deliberately under-estimated the risk to humans from BSE.
But his refusing to hand over the tape is the first instance of the inquiry being refused evidence by a witness.
Mr Meldrum told the inquiry this morning that the tape contained comments of “a very personal nature, about my family, about myself, about my colleagues and so forth.”
The tape was recorded in 1993 by psychologists from the University of Surrey who were investigating how Government ministers informed the public of the risk from BSE.
Mr Meldrum said he agreed to be interviewed and give his views on various Government ministers on the condition of strict confidentiality.
The inquiry lacks the power to force Mr Meldrum to hand over the tape, but Downing Street has previously ordered all Government departments to co-operate fully with those leading the investigation.