Hudghton (Greens/EFA) - I very much regret that France continues to maintain its ban on beef from the UK and, as I have made very clear in previous debates here, I expect the European Commission to urgently proceed with enforcement action. However, I also believe that political representations should continue to be made, and for that reason my SNP colleague Neil MacCormick and I remained in this Chamber yesterday rather than sulking outside in the corridors. We took the opportunity to personally draw President Chirac's attention to the quality of Scottish beef. Since the start of the beef crisis, SNP members here have consistently advocated that the situation in Scotland should be assessed separately with a view to a phased reintroduction of export trading. I am challenging the Scottish Minister for Agriculture to bypass London and support the SNP's request, which I delivered yesterday to the French Government, that the French authorities study in detail and with urgency the scientific evidence, the traceability and labelling situation in Scotland; and I call upon French colleagues in this house to pursue this matter with their Government.

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