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South Lakes MP votes to protect British food and farming standards

October 13, 2020 2:05 PM

Tim outside DEFRALast night, local MP and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hill Farming Tim Farron voted for an amendment to the Agriculture Bill which would have protected UK food, animal welfare and environmental standards in future trade deals.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Tim said: "The only reason that the Government would resist the enforcement of minimum standards in the Bill is if they wanted to allow themselves the freedom-the wriggle room-to sell out our farmers. In a letter publicised last week, the Minister said: 'Such conditions would make it very difficult to secure any new trade deals'. In other words, 'if you don't allow us to throw our farmers under a bus, we'll not get the trade deal that we want'.

"If we care about not only farmers, animal welfare and environmental protections but the communities that those farms underpin, such as mine in Westmorland, we are letting down generations of farmers and the heritage that they promote and have protected if we allow the Government to throw all that away in negotiations.

"If Members want to back British farmers, they cannot just wear a wheat badge once a year-they must vote for the amendment tonight."

However the amendment was voted down by Conservative MPs.

Speaking after the vote, Tim said: "The Conservatives have continually promised to back British farmers throughout the Brexit process, but their failure tonight to uphold our high food standards reveals just how hollow those promises were.

"Farmers across the country are incredibly worried about the future - they're worried that the UK is about to be flooded with poor quality food undercutting their high quality produce. The votes on the agricultural bill this evening brings us a step closer to that reality.

"The Liberal Democrats will continue to stand up for our farmers. If the Government doesn't protect our food standards, they will only sow more uncertainty and worry for our farming industry."