A new commission that aims to ensure farming standards are not undercut amid the search for post-Brexit trade deals has been established.
Ministers agreed this week to set up an independent commission to protect British farmers, as Number 10 pursues a series of post-Brexit trade deals in which it has been suggested that food, agricultural and environmental standard-slashing could be on the negotiating table.
The move was welcomed by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) as a show of ‘concrete action’ on the oft-discussed issue.
However, South Lakes MP Tim Farron warned that the body would need to come ‘with teeth’ for it to effectively safeguard British farming standards.
Commenting on the news of the new Trade and Agriculture Commission, Mr Farron said: “On the face of it this is a very welcome concession from the Government and is thanks to the brilliant campaign run by the NFU that we’ve been proud to support.
“However, the announcement contained no details about how this new commission will operate or how Parliament will be able to properly scrutinise any new trade deal and the effect it will have on our world-class food, animal welfare and environmental standards.
“This new body must be a watchdog with teeth that will prevent the Conservatives undermining British farmers, instead of a lapdog that provides cover for the Tories to sell us out in future trade deals.”
Cllr James Airey also believes it is ‘early days yet’, saying: “Farmers for too long had been tied down by EU bureaucracy and red tape.
“We produce top-quality produce and we need to get it out there on the world markets. But of course... we do need to make sure there are adequate safeguards and protections in place, so that British agriculture isn’t sold down the river.”
Source: Westmorland Gazette