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November 19, 2003 12:00 AM

Commenting ahead of the EFRA Select Committee's report on the GM public debate, Liberal Democrat Shadow Rural Affairs Secretary, Andrew George MP, has called for the debate to be re-run now that much more information is available.

The Government-sponsored GM Nation debate was completed before crucial scientific evidence from the GM Science Review, the Farm Scale Evaluations and the Strategy Unit's Economic Review was available.

Mr George said:

"The GM Nation debate should have provoked informed discussion about a difficult issue. But it had no chance of success with its limited funding and poor timing.

"The Government was in too much of a rush to allow commercial planting of GMs and the public was asked its opinion with none of the crucial scientific evidence.

"All the reports commissioned by the Government have raised grave doubts about GMs. Yet next month it looks likely that the Government will happily stand by as GM corn is approved by a EU committee. The slippery slope of sleepwalking into making a big decision through small incremental steps appears to be all before us.

"We now know that the GM debate was a fig leaf as the decision had already been made."