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‘An almighty slap in the face’ - MP blasts Secretary of State’s refusal to guarantee no tariffs for Cumbria’s farmers

February 6, 2020 2:50 PM

On the floor of the House of Commons this morning, Conservative ministers failed to rule out farmers in Cumbria facing huge export tariffs by the end of the year.

During DEFRA questions, local MP Tim Farron said: "The reality is that 90% of Cumbrian farm exports are to the European Single Market.

"Can the minister guarantee that my farmers will not be facing crippling taxes and tariffs on their exports?"

In response, DEFRA Secretary Theresa Villiers said that the Government was seeking a free-trade agreement with the European Union but failed to give any assurances that tariffs would not be imposed on Cumbria's farmers.

Speaking afterwards, Tim said: "The Secretary of State's answer is an almighty slap in the face to our hard-working local famers.

"Heavy export tariffs would ruin hill farming here in Cumbria, with severe consequences to our economy, our environment and our ability to feed ourselves."