HC Deb 26 June 1968 vol 767 cc442-3
34. Sir J. Langford-Holt

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, in view of the findings of the report, details of which have been sent to him, by the British Veterinary Association, published on 15th June, recommending the total ban of imports of meat from countries with foot-and-mouth disease, whether he will now order a resumption of the ban on the import of beef from Argentina.

Mr. Cledwyn Hughes

I think that the hon. Member is referring to the evidence given by the British Veterinary Association to the Northumberland Committee, a copy of which has been sent to me. This evidence will be for consideration by the Committee, and it would be wrong for me to comment at this stage.

Sir J. Langford-Holt

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that this is a most authoritative piece of evidence which should be treated with the utmost seriousness, and does it not give great emphasis to the views of those who said that the ban on the import of beef from the Argentine should not have been lifted?

Mr. Hughes

I agree that this is a report which must be looked at with great respect, but any reconsideration of the Government's decision about imports of beef from South America should await the report of the Northumberland Committee. I understand that the Northumberland Committee is giving priority to the policy questions which it was asked to consider, and it will present the first part of its report dealing with these matters as soon as possible.

Mr. Wellbeloved

In advising the House to await the Northumberland Committee's report, will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the report has already been highly prejudiced by the statements made by a member of the Committee urging a ban on imported meat, and will he consider dismissing Mr. Henry Plumb from the Committee?

Mr. Hughes

My hon. Friend has a later Question on that subject on the Order Paper.