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EDITIONS
 Sunday, 29 December, 2002, 00:13 GMT
Prince attacked over German car deal
Prince Charles
Charles wants public bodies to buy British
Prince Charles has been accused of "hypocrisy" for signing a 100,000 deal with a German car firm, shortly before calling for public bodies to be ordered to buy British.

The Prince of Wales said schools, hospitals, the Army and government departments should only buy British food in a bid to help UK farmers.

But according to the Sunday Mirror newspaper Charles made the plea after he arranged to lease up to four new cars from Audi.

Labour MPs Tom Watson and Paul Flynn criticised the prince's decision to appeal for extra help for farmers while failing to support other British workers himself.

Mr Flynn said it was "extraordinary" that Charles spoke out in favour of the subsidised farming industry but not others that are being decimated.

'Millionaire farmer'

Mr Watson said: "Charles should put his money where his mouth is when it comes to the British car industry.

He was saying that, where possible, people should buy British food

St James's Palace
"This is hypocrisy from the heir to the throne who appears not to care about workers in his own country."

Mr Flynn said the deal with Audi highlighted Charles's distorted priorities.

He criticised the Prince for failing to speak out in favour of the steel industry when it faced cutbacks.

"He is a victim of his environment as a millionaire farmer," the MP said.

"He fails to see the aluminium, steel or hi-tech industries having their heart torn out."

'Food, not cars'

According to an Audi spokesman the deal with Charles involves four cars on an open-ended lease.

But a St James's Palace spokeswoman said she was only aware of one car being bought to replace the Prince's Vauxhall Omega.

She said: "Vauxhall have decided to stop making Omegas so he has had to pick another car and has chosen Audi.".

The spokeswoman said the decision did not contradict his call for extra support for farmers because "he was talking about food, not cars".

She said: "He was saying that, where possible, people should buy British food. "

'Just imagine'

Prince Charles made his buy British call in an interview with Farmers' Weekly magazine.

He said: "Just imagine the amount of food purchased by our hospitals, armed forces, local government, schools and universities.

"What an impact it would make on the viability of the British farmer if each was to 'buy British' and preferably, buy 'local'."

He dismissed the idea that such a policy would break EU rules, citing research recently completed at the University of Wales.

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