Majority prioritise protecting farmers over new trade deals, poll reveals

A new poll by pro-internationalist group Best for Britain has found that more than six in ten people want protecting British farmers to take priority over new trade deals.

Photo source: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire

The findings are based on a poll of more than 1,500 adults taken by Opinium for Best for Britain.

61% said the government should prioritise protecting British farmers, compared to just 20% who said that agreeing new trade deals was more important, and 19% said they didn’t know.

Farming support was discovered among a majority of both Leavers and Remainers, voters of all parties, across all age groups and in all regions of the UK, with the highest levels of support found to be in the South West of England.

Naomi Smith, Chief Executive of Best for Britain said: “Our polling shows that Britain backs our farmers and that we don’t want to see them sold out like our fishermen were, just so the Prime Minister has something to put in his tragically bare Brexit trophy cabinet.

“Make no mistake, the government’s urgency to get this deal over the line at any cost is purely political. Any trade deal agreed with Australia must receive proper scrutiny and approval by parliament.”

Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, Emily Thornberry MP said: “The government needs to stop and reflect on the overwhelming message the British public is sending them. As a country, we do not want to see our farming communities sold out for the sake of a quick trade deal, and our standards of food safety, animal welfare and environmental protection undermined.

“We want trade deals that create jobs, support our farmers and uphold our standards, not bad deals like this one which do the exact opposite.”

Conservative MP Roger Gale, who sits on the cross-party UK Trade and Business Commission, said: "It is vital that in our eagerness to strike trade agreements we do not sacrifice animal welfare, British farmers’ livelihoods or our food standards.

“Allowing the importing of products derived from conditions and hormone treatments that we would not permit in the UK is not acceptable. Indeed, one of the much-vaunted advantages of leaving the European Union was that we would be able to impose our own high standards upon the goods that we allow into the country.

“We have to honour that undertaking given to the British people by the Prime Minister, The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and others.”

Source: PA