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Lift beef ban now, Euro-MP calls

September 20, 2002 12:00 AM

Liz Lynne, Liberal Democrat MEP for the West Midlands, has called for the French government to immediately, lift their embargo on British beef, following the all clear from the French food safety agency.

Three years ago, Liz Lynne was thrust into the pan-European media spotlight when she protested against the French’s illegal ban by carrying a joint of Herefordshire beef through customs.

Commenting on the food agency’s report, Liz said, “This report tells us nothing that everyone didn’t already know 3 years ago when the EU overwhelmingly decided to lift its own ban on British beef. The French government now have nowhere left to squirm – they must lift the ban immediately and in full. Anything else is unacceptable.”

Commenting on the EU Commission’s proposal to fine the French government £100,000 a day until the ban is lifted, she called for the Commission to stand firm and introduce the fine retrospectively from when the EU ban was lifted. “The French have been playing a game of chicken with the EU; keeping their ban as long as possible before lifting it at the last possible moment. Meanwhile, British farmers have been made to suffer and millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money has been spent pursuing legal action. It would be an absolute scandal for them to now get away with it Scot free.”

Liz Lynne was planning to raise the issue at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference this week, starting by sponsoring a race – the “British Beef Stakes” – at the Youth & Student organisation’s Race Night on the Saturday night.