HC Deb 19 June 2002 vol 387 cc264-5
4. Mr. Bill Wiggin (Leominster)

What recent discussions he has had with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on badger movements across the Welsh border. [59909]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Don Touhig)

The Secretary of State and I have regular and wide-ranging discussions with ministerial colleagues in DEFRA and the National Assembly for Wales. Our officials also maintain contact with officials in DEFRA and the National Assembly concerning the issue on which the hon. Gentleman has tabled his question.

Mr. Wiggin

Today Members of the European Parliament are investigating foot and mouth and its handling in Wales. Wales now faces a similar crisis with the bovine tuberculosis microbacterium. Does the Minister agree that it is a disgrace and a display of contempt for the rural community that the Labour Administration have appointed Mike German, a Liberal Democrat, to handle their rural affairs brief?

Mr. Touhig

The hon. Gentleman had trouble keeping a straight face when he was asking that question—whereas the Government take the problem of bovine TB in Wales very seriously. In partnership with our colleagues in the Assembly, we are making available extra resources and extra staff to tackle the problem. As for the appointment of Mr. Mike German to his position in the National Assembly, that is a matter for the First Minister, not for me.

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