Smith Calls For EID Inquiry

22 July 2011

"VITAL TO LEARN LESSONS FROM SHAMBLES"

SNP MEP Alyn Smith has this week called for a full Parliamentary Inquiry into how the vexed EU Regulations on individual identification of sheep and goats came into being, and how they were incorporated into Scots law as a legal obligation.

Smith has written to the Convener of the Holyrood Rural Affairs Committee, SNP colleague Rob Gibson MSP, calling upon the Committee to launch a full Inquiry so that lessons can be learnt by fully ventilating how on earth Scotland could collectively have missed such a crucial EU issue, and so that it cannot happen again.

Alyn said:

"I have long said that the EID rules are a case study in why it is important to pay attention to what is going on in Brussels, lest whatever is rumbling around come down the tracks at you when it is too late to do much about it. We need to learn lessons.

"Sir Humphrey might have viewed my call for an investigation into my own government colleagues as fairly 'courageous' but I truly am tired of this whole dishonest, partial debate and we need clarity over what happened, who was in charge and who dropped the ball when the decisions were being nodded through. There has been some simply disgraceful politics over EID, and a few instances of selective amnesia that are nothing short of medical miracles. I am, however, not interested in allocating blame, I'm looking to see where it went wrong so that it cannot happen again. My own view is that we, collectively, Scotland, were simply asleep on the job.

"A full Committee Inquiry will be able to demand information and evidence from the government, and witness testimony from those involved as the legislation was being produced. It will be able to reflect on how and why this seemingly incredible legal obligation came into being and what our government, Parliament and industry did about it.

"EU rules happen for a reason. They are agreed by the governments of the member states, and approved by the MEPs as well, before they become law. Scotland was demonstrably part of all those discussions, yet nobody seems to have raised the massive practical difficulties with the legislation until it was effectively too late. Since my joining the Agriculture Committee in early 2007 I banged the drum harder than anyone and was frustrated beyond words to be told time and again, "your Minister voted for this so why are you objecting now?"

"A full Committee Inquiry will allow us, all of us, to hold those in charge at the time to account and learn lessons for the future."