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MP urges Secretary of State to hold Parliamentary vote on Australia trade deal

June 23, 2021 2:16 PM

In the House of Commons this morning, Cumbrian MP Tim Farron pressed the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to hold a vote in Parliament on the Government's new controversial trade deal with Australia.

Tim has also tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament this morning, calling for MPs to have the final say on an agreement which has prompted wide spread concern by both farmers and animal welfare charities.

Speaking in Parliament, Tim said: "The reason why Cumbria's farmers feel betrayed is that the Australian trade deal gives Australian farmers an unfair advantage over British farmers and that's because their production costs are lower due to significantly worse animal welfare and environmental standards in Australia compared to our country.

"Given that this sets an appalling precedent for all future trade deals, will the minister ensure that farmers' representatives in this House get the final say and a veto before this deal is signed off?"

In response, Defra Secretary George Eustice said: "Under the provisions that we have to ratify treaties of course this House will have the ability to decline to ratify any treaty including this particular one.

"On the issue of animal welfare it is the case that we have a chapter on animal welfare cooperation and of course we will be seeking to address some of the welfare deficiencies in Australia and to get them to for instance follow New Zealand's lead on the issue of mulesing and it's also important to recognise that this agreement does not cover pork and poultry where their standards also have problematic approaches."