Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, today challenged the Government’s no deal planning which he described as “catastrophic” for rural communities.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr. Carmichael said:
“Can I tell the Minister that I very much agree with him when he talks of Europe as a key export market for our Lamb producers and hill farmers. 160 of his colleagues last night voted for a no deal Brexit, including the Hon. Member who asked the question (Chris Davies, Brecon and Radnorshire) a no deal Brexit could expose lamb exports to a 12.8% plus €171.3/100kg tariff. Is that going to be good for our sheep farmers?”
Responding on behalf of the Government, the Rt. Hon. Robert Goodwill, Minister of State for Fishing and Farming, said:
The best way to prevent a situation in which we have a no deal Brexit is to vote for the deal. Nothing yesterday was supported by the House. The deal is the best thing for agriculture, the best thing for future, and the best thing for a long-term relationship between ourselves and the European Union.
Speaking after the exchange, Mr. Carmichael added:
“For Brexiteers to talk about the post-Brexit agriculture industry being of “paramount importance” while cheerfully voting for a no-deal Brexit that could destroy it, smacks of hypocrisy. Our farmers and crofters need to realise that those who promote no-deal Brexit are not on their side. They are prepared to damage the livelihoods of our livestock farmers and crofters to pursue their Brexit unicorns.
“The test for any deal the Government comes back with for our rural communities, must be whether it allows them to continue to access key European export markets. No-deal clearly fails that fundamental test and will make our farmers and crofters worse off.”