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BLAIR ACCUSED - Monkey lab objection
Posted 1 January 2004
Tony Blair will next week be accused of abusing the planning system over the Government's green light for a £32 million monkey research laboratory.
The National Anti-Vivisection Society and Animal Aid are to launch a High Court challenge to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's controversial approval of the scheme. He overruled his own planning inspector in November after Mr Blair declared his support for the scheme. Another prominent supporter is science minister Lord Sainsbury who has personally bankrolled the Labour Party to the tune of £11.5 million.
The legal challenge will describe Mr Prescott's decision to reject the planning inspector's advice as "perverse, unreasonable and unfair". The Cambridge University lab will damage monkeys' brains in pursuit of cures for Parkinson's, Huntington's and other diseases. Animal welfare groups argue that the experiments will be cruel, the results will have no value for humans because monkeys have different brains and more humane alternatives exist.
Mr Prescott backed the Green Belt scheme even though the inspector ruled that Cambridge University had failed to show that there was a "national need" for the laboratory. The local authority has also twice rejected the plan.
The appeal will argue that Mr Blair's public support and letters from Lord Sainsbury backing the lab influenced the decision.
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