24 July 1997
PM welcomes EU beef deal
The prime minister yesterday praised the deal secured on Tuesday by agriculture minister Dr Jack Cunningham on BSE controls for meat, telling the Commons that Labour were showing the way to govern.
The agreement, which Mr Blair stressed the Tories had failed to win when in office, means Europe has bowed to British pressure and agreed tough new public health controls on meat to combat mad cow disease.
The move followed British threats to ban imports of beef from the rest of the EU unless Britains partners matched abattoir safety measures currently in operation in the UK.
After ten hours of talks in Brussels, EU farm ministers agreed by eight votes to seven to remove all high-risk offal from cow and sheep carcasses at slaughter.
Raising the matter with the Prime Minister at Commons question time, Labours Dale Campbell-Savours (Workington) praised the deal and applauded Dr Cunningham for the tough, effective way he negotiated his terms. He said the only way to get a positive response from the Europeans was to sit down and talk to them.
Mr Blair replied: You are absolutely right in saying this is the proper way to negotiate. Moreover, the agreement that was negotiated by Dr Cunningham was precisely the agreement the previous Government tried to negotiate and failed, he added.
Parliamentary Staff, PA News