BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: In Depth: Conferences: Conservatives
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

banner Wednesday, 4 October, 2000, 11:56 GMT 12:56 UK
Yeo plays rural card
Farmers have become increasingly angry
Farmers have become increasingly angry
The Conservatives are hoping to capitalise on the growing discontent in the countryside to solidify their support in rural areas.

Speaking at the Tory conference in Bournemouth, shadow agriculture minister Tim Yeo attacked the Labour government for its uncaring attitude to the countryside.


The survival of farming is part of believing in Britain - without farming our green and pleasant land will fall into decay

Tim Yeo
"Labour's claim that it represents rural England is absolutely bogus," he said.

Soon, "the rural seats where Labour and the Liberal Democrats have been squatting will be Conservative once again," he declared.

"When the election comes, rural Britain will deliver a damning verdict on the Labour government and its Liberal lackeys," he added.

Lack of understanding

He attacked the Agriculture Secretary, Nick Brown, as "nasty Nick" who should be the first to be thrown out of the Cabinet.


Labour's claim that it represents rural England is absolutely bogus

Tim Yeo
"He is only offering sticking plasters for an industry that is bleeding to death," Mr Yeo said.

And he attacked Labour for hurting the countryside through higher petrol taxes, bans on fox-hunting, the right to roam over private property, and the closure of rural post offices.

Restoring farmers' incomes

Mr Yeo said that restoring farmers' incomes was the key to preserving the countryside.

Official government figures show that farm incomes have fallen by nearly half in the last three years, from 11,000 to 6,000 annually.

Tim Yeo: rural voices must be heard
Tim Yeo: rural voices must be heard
"We believe in a living and working countryside.

"The survival of farming is part of believing in Britain - without farming our green and pleasant land will fall into decay," he said.

And Mr Yeo accused the government of failing to ensure that food labelled as British is actually produced in the UK.

"That is a fraud on consumers, a fraud that Labour refuse to stop, and a fraud that we will end," he said.

Too much regulation

He said that farmers were suffering under a mountain of red tape and rules which originated in Brussels and were applied more harshly in the British countryside than anywhere else.

"We won't enforce European rules any faster than France, Spain or Italy does," he told the conference to applause.

And he said that Labour favoured the import of substandard food from abroad over the interests of British farmers.

"The next Conservative government will put an end to all that," he said.

Mr Yeo also said that the Conservatives would move more cautiously on GM foods and crops.

And they would endorse a sweeping reform of the Common Agricultural Policy - but one which would recognise the unique role of agriculture in preserving the countryside.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

20 Apr 00 | UK Politics
Tories demand French beef ban
30 Mar 00 | UK Politics
Blair pledges 200m for farmers
27 Feb 00 | UK Politics
Blair's GM food shift welcomed
31 Jan 00 | Farming in crisis
Farming in crisis
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Conservatives stories are at the foot of the page.


Links to more Conservatives stories