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Saturday, August 28, 1999 Published at 16:06 GMT 17:06 UK

UK: Wales

Lib Dems add to calls for farming debate

Welsh Liberal Democrat AMs want to debate the farming crisis

Assembly First Secretary Alun Michael has come under fire from the Welsh Liberal Democrats over the growing farming crisis in Wales.

Welsh Lib Dem leader Mike German said the government is in disarray over the crisis.

Mr German's comments followed a reply by Presiding Officer Dafydd Elis-Thomas stating he could not order a recall of the Assembly from its recess to debate the issue.

The Welsh Lib Dem leader is also seeking to change a standing order stating the Assembly cannot be reconvened unless the First Secretary calls members back.

[ image: Mike German AM:
Mike German AM: "There is a crisis to be dealt with"
"Alun Michael and Labour's failure to deal with the farming crisis has been sheltered by the Assembly's standing orders," said Mr German.

"He knows that a majority of Assembly Members want to meet to agree action.

"He knows there is a crisis to be dealt with. Yet to him and Christine Gwyther, internal relationships with his London masters count for more."

Apparent contradiction

Mr German commented after Environment Minister Michael Meacher apparently contradicted Agriculture Minister, Nick Brown in an interview this morning.

On the Today programme on Radio 4 Mr Meacher said: "There is no doubt that we do have the worst crisis in agriculture for many, many years.

"That is a situation we inherited, we have of course got to deal with it, but it is not of our own making."

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