Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, has today told the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, that any post-Brexit farming deal must work for all of the countries and communities which make up the UK.
Speaking in the House of Commons this morning, Mr. Carmichael said:
“The Secretary of State should be aware that the UK does not have a single agricultural industry, we have several. The needs of farmers and crofters in my constituency will be very different from those of dairy farmers in the South West of England, but all will have to be accommodated in this framework. Will the Minister therefore continue to engage, not just with the Farmers Union of Scotland, but also the Scottish Crofters Federation, because in this, they are the experts.”
Michael Gove responded on behalf of the Government saying:
“I quite agree with the Rt. Hon. Gentleman, I had the opportunity to hear from representatives of the Crofting sector when I visited Scotland. I made a commitment to visit every part of the United Kingdom, and to work constructively with the devolved administrations in order to ensure that we have a UK wide framework that ensures that we can preserve the internal market within the UK, that we can do the best trade deals with other countries, but at the same time we are sensitive to the specific needs of, for example, Orkney’s very very fine beef farmers.”
Speaking after the exchange, Mr. Carmichael said:
“I welcome the clear commitment to visit every part of the UK, to listen to real farmers, and to build a farming framework that works for all.
“There is still too much uncertainty about the future of the agriculture sector, but this is certainly a positive commitment which I hope to be able to build on as the Brexit process goes forward.”