Tories block Bill to ban export trade

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The Independent Online
An MP's attempt to ban the export of calves for rearing in veal creates was blocked amid bitter reciminations in the Commons yesterday, writes Nicholas Timmins.

As Eric Martlew, Labour MP for Carlisle, waited to launch the second reading of his Private Member's Bill, Conservative MPs read out extracts from Encyclopaedia Britannica and the London telephone directory during the preceding Bill on protecting the Olympic symbol. The length of the debate and a staged Commons vote ensured that Mr Martlew's Bill was not reached.

Mr Martlew accused William Waldegrave, the Minister of Agriculture, of arranging a "filibuster" to talk his Bill out.

Oliver Heald, MP for Hertfordshire North and Mr Waldegrave's Parliamentary Private Secretary, spoke for 24 minutes while Peter Atkinson, the Hexham MP who is PPS to the Tory party chairman Jeremy Hanley, listed businesses with the name Olympiad from the telephone directory to claim theycould be affected by the Bill.

Ian Sproat, the sports minister, answered at length to mounting Labour protests. The Tory Michael Stephen, whose Shoreham constituency has seen demonstrations against the live exports, demanded on a point of order if there was any way supporters of Mr Martlew's Bill could speak to it.

As Nicholas Winterton, Tory MP for Macclesfield, moved that his Olympic symbol Bill go to committee, Mr Atkinson objected - forcing a vote which used up the final few minutes Mr Martlew might have had.

Mr Martlew complained of "absue" of Commons procedure but Tory MPs said Labour had used similar tactics.

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