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MP slams Conservative minister for calling Cumbrian farmers ‘feeble’

July 1, 2021 5:05 PM

Cumbrian MP Tim Farron has slammed a Conservative cabinet minister who described local farmers as 'feeble'.

Over the last couple of weeks, the Government has been widely criticised for allowing British farmers to be undercut in their new trade deal with Australia.

But in the House of Commons this morning, the Leader of the House Jacob-Rees Mogg described farmers with concerns over the trade deal as "feeble and frightened".

Speaking during Business Questions this morning, Tim said: "The Leader of the House will be proud as I am of the high animal welfare and environmental standards of British farmers, but the Australian trade deal looks likely to betray our farmers by allowing lower standard Australian farm produce to undercut them.

"Given that this deal will set a precedent for every subsequent trade deal, will he allow time for MPs to debate it as was done over the Japan deal last November when his Right Honourable Friend the International Trade Secretary said that this was and I quote 'the first of many debates about negotiated trade deals'.

"Will he keep faith with British farmers and will he keep the promise made by his Right Honourable Friend?"

In response, Jacob Rees-Mogg refused to give any assurances that the trade deal would be debated in Parliament and instead claimed that Australian farmers have "high standards of animal welfare" and derided concerned local farmers as "frightened, nervy and feeble".

Speaking afterwards, Tim said: "Jacob Rees-Mogg's outrageous comments about our hard-working farmers just show how little the Conservatives care about rural communities.

"It is Mr Rees-Mogg's own Conservative Government that is cutting support payments to local farmers, actively encouraging farmers to leave the industry with no idea who will replace them, failing to intervene to save Newton Rigg agricultural college and threatening the future of family farms with their Australian trade deal."