Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has described the government’s refusal to accept the latest amendments to the Agriculture Bill as a “missed opportunity” to protect farmers and crofters from unfair trade practices. Government MPs voted overwhelmingly last night to reject opposition amendments from the House of Lords to protect UK farming standards in future trade deals.
Mr Carmichael said:
“The government has missed the opportunity to change course and protect our farmers and crofters. If, as seems increasingly likely, we are soon to be negotiating with a new government in the United States then this could have been a chance for a rethink.
“The government is taking farmers and crofters for granted but if they carry on like this then there will be consequences. Food producers need access to their successful markets in Europe and support for our high standards of production. From this government it seems they will get neither.”
“My party, the Liberal Democrats, have always backed farming communities across the UK. We will keep pushing for changes to the Agriculture Bill as it continues to progress.”
Liberal Democrat Rural Affairs Spokesperson Tim Farron said:
“We now risk seeing food that is currently illegal in the UK - like hormone treated beef and fruit and vegetables produced using banned pesticide - make it onto our supermarket shelves, as the Government will be free to slash standards in a bid to secure new trade deals.
“Unlike the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats back British farming. We want the Government to work in partnership with UK farmers to protect our world-class food and animal welfare standards, cut greenhouse gas emissions and support the recovery of our natural environment.”