Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today called on the Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss to meet with farmers protesting over concerns about the protection of food standards in future trade deals.
Save British Farming will hold a demonstration in Parliament Square on Monday 12th October to voice concerns about the potential for trade concessions to the US to flood the UK market with cheap, low-quality food and undermine farmers and crofters. The protest comes on the same day that the Agriculture Bill returns to the House of Commons.
Speaking in the House, Mr Carmichael said:
“On Monday, farmers from across the whole of the United Kingdom will be demonstrating in Parliament Square to make the point that to them, future food standards and animal welfare provisions are absolutely essential. Will the Secretary of State join me in meeting them to hear from them first-hand the importance of this?”
Responding for the government, Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss MP said:
“Well, I’ve met farmers from right across the United Kingdom and, indeed, the Trade and Agriculture Commission that we have set up to advise us on these issues is conducting a series of regional meetings with MPs and farmers to get their views, to make sure that our policy on every pre-trade deal works for farmers right across the country.”
Reacting after the exchange, Mr Carmichael said:
“The Secretary of State may say she has met farmers around the country but the message clearly is not sinking in. The fact that Save British Farming are holding a protest in front of Parliament next week should have been the clue.
“If the government is proud of our high food standards as they say then they should not be opening the floodgates to cut-corner products from the US. I will be proud to meet with the farmers from Save British Farming on Monday – and to back their calls for a fair deal for UK farmers and crofters in any trade agreement with the United States.”