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Tractors Take to Westminster as Farmers Rally Against Post-Brexit Trade Betrayal

A "go slow" convoy of over 120 tractors made its way around Westminster yesterday evening (25 March) as campaigners called for action on food security.

Organised by Save British Farming and the Kent Fairness for Farmers group, they are demanding an end to several post-Brexit trade agreements. These agreements, they argue, permit imports that do not meet UK standards.

The campaigners have highlighted deals with New Zealand, Australia, and the CPTPP agreement with 11 countries, including Canada, Japan, and Mexico. They claim these deals place them at a disadvantage compared to European farmers, who continue to receive EU subsidies and can import their goods across the Channel.

The group also alleges a lack of import checks, allowing sub-standard food into the country, and products being labelled with a Union flag despite not being grown or reared in Britain.

The convoy, starting from New Covent Garden in central London, filled the roads around Parliament, adorned with banners and farmers sounding their horns to draw attention to their cause.

Save British Farming's founder, Liz Webster, described farmers as "completely and utterly disadvantaged," comparing their situation to "[sending] the English football team to the World Cup with chains on their legs and hands."

"In 2019, this government was elected with a mandate to uphold our standards and deliver a ready-made deal with the EU which would see British agriculture boom. It is now entirely obvious that they have totally betrayed us all," she stated.

"Polling shows that the public supports British farming and food and wishes to maintain our high food standards and support local producers. We need a radical change of policy and an urgent exit from these appalling trade deals which will decimate British food."

Jeff Gibson, founder of Kent Fairness for Farmers, emphasised the importance of their message about substandard imports, dishonest labelling, and concerns for food security being heard, especially with an election on the horizon.

Farming minister Mark Spencer asserted the government's firm support for farmers, stating that agriculture is "at the heart of British trade." He highlighted the government's efforts to prioritise agriculture in trade negotiations, protect UK food standards, and remove market access barriers.

"We've maintained the £2.4bn annual farming budget and recently set out the biggest ever package of grants which supports farmers to produce food profitably and sustainably," he added.


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