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Thursday, 1 August, 2002, 14:46 GMT 15:46 UK
Demo for Blair at start of holiday
Blairs in Cornwall
Last year the Blairs went to Cornwall for a break
Tony Blair has arrived in Cumbria ahead of a family holiday in the county to be met by Countryside Alliance demonstrators.

The prime minister was visiting UCB Films in Wigton but used another entrance to the company after 150 protesters turned up.


We want to remind Mr Blair that we are not going away

David Stocker
Countryside Alliance
The site of the factory is close to Great Orton where thousands of animals culled during the foot-and-mouth outbreak were buried.

Demonstration organiser Sandy Guthrie said he had had a request for a meeting with Mr Blair turned down.

He said: "This token demonstration is to express our concern and annoyance at the high-headed, arrogant and dismissive attitude of this government towards the problems facing rural people and industries."

UK break

As Mr Blair arrived at the company to open a new research and development centre he was greeted with jeers and shouts.

For the second year in a row the prime minister and his family are to have a brief holiday in the UK before heading off abroad.

Countryside Alliance spokesman David Stocker said: "I think it's wonderful that a local employer has the prime minister coming to visit.

"But we want to remind Mr Blair that we are not going away."

Family holiday

As he opened the new centre, Mr Blair said: "I am delighted to be back in Cumbria to spend some time with my family. I know this is a county which has been through some difficult times for obvious reasons.

Cherie and Tony Blair
France and Italy have been past favourites
"I hope and believe people are getting themselves back on their feet again.

"Although there are many rural interests there are big manufacturing and technological interests as well and they are as important to the county and country."

He added: "The only way to compete is by a massive investment in research and development. It is critical in order to succeed."

The Countryside Alliance have been mounting a summer-long campaign against a possible ban on fox hunting.

Their "Summer of Discontent" culminates in a march in London.

See also:

02 Apr 01 | UK
16 Aug 01 | Politics
04 Jul 01 | Politics
01 Aug 00 | Politics
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