MPS IN the Vale of Evesham and the Cotswolds have called for Government action to help stop the spread of foot and mouth disease.

Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown has called for a national state of emergency to be introduced with the army being brought in to speed up the slaughter of animals with the disease.

The MP was acting on representations from Jan Rowe, former Bourton and Gloucestershire NFU chairman, currently a member of the NFU national committee.

Mr Clifton-Brown raised the crisis in the House of Commons in a Point of Order on Monday, telling MPs there was chaos in the arrangements for reporting foot and mouth to the Ministry.

"The whole matter is out of control and we must act urgently now to curtail it," he said.

"That is why a national state of emergency is essential."

Vale MP Peter Luff has tabled questions on aspects of the disease, including what precautions shops selling agricultural products should take as farmers visiting them were a very real source of possible cross-contaminations, and what advice has been given to landfill site operators, following unfounded speculation on the possibility of an outbreak near the site at Hill and Moor and being spread by vehicles visiting the site.

Mr Luff said: "As this dreadful disease spreads, the implications become daily more serious.

"Worried constituents have raised these questions with me and answers must be provided urgently."

Meanwhile hotels have been particularly badly hit by the decision to call off this week's National Hunt Festival at Cheltenham, a move which hit all the service industries.

The Lygon Arms, Broadway, offered cut price accommodation in a bid to fill empty rooms, and John Jenkinson, of the Evesham Hotel, who organised a casino night for his residents unable to go racing, said: "We all feel desperately sorry for the farmers."

Mike Spires, of Park View Hotel, Evesham, said: "My guests come every year for the festival.

"They have all asked for their rooms if the meeting is rearranged."