by C.K YOE

An open letter to the Prime Minister

A year in office, and our initial euphoria at Labour's general election win last May has turned decidedly sour.

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With your U-turns on fox-hunting, animal experiments, mink fur farming, etc, you have shown us what a true friend of animals you really are and how you (and/or New Labour) have cynically courted the "bunny huggers" and then dropped them once you got into power.

Isn't it funny how you, and all your senior ministers (Brown, Straw, Cook, Mandelson, et al) contrived not to attend any of the debates on Michael Foster's bill to ban hunting with dogs? Stunning actually. So this is the support your backbenchers can expect from the leadership.

You couldn't even keep your own promise to that little girl who wrote to you pleading for an end to fox-hunting. We are entitled to draw our own conclusions from that little episode.

And the renewal of Huntingdon Life Sciences' licence, after the shocking revelations of institutionalised cruelty to laboratory animals, was absolutely shameful. You and Jack Straw can take full credit for that one.

With your kow-towing to big business (the Bernie Ecclestone affair, the Sainsbury affair) and show business (celebrity bashes at Number 10), you seem to have forgotten your own words to your backbenchers: "You are not here to enjoy the trappings of power", etc, etc. Maybe you should send a transcript of that tremendous speech to Lord Irvine, he would enjoy a little joke at our expense.

And you have shown the path to a lordship from New Labour is to "squirm and toady up" (Peter McKay, Daily Mail, June 22) to the leadership. Melvyn Bragg's elevation was apparently a reward for raising £79,000 for your leadership campaign (The Times, June 20). So that is what a peerage is worth these days, a mere trifle to the millionaires that you surround yourself with.

So, after 12 months in power, what actually have you done for the animals? A big, fat, ZERO. You would do well to remember one thing: the people put you in, the people can put you out again.

With best wishes, yours most humbly

C.K Yoe (A friend of animals, not of big business), The Mall, Kenton

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000.Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.