Farmers call for action to prevent no deal after May’s failed Brexit vote

The farming sector has united to call for immediate action to prevent the UK leaving the EU with no deal on 29 March, following the Prime Minister’s defeat on her Brexit deal in the House of Commons. MPs voted by 391 to 242 votes to reject the Prime Minister’s EU Withdrawal Agreement last night, meaning there is now even less clarity on how Brexit will take place or what it will mean for international trade.

The Presidents of the UK’s four farming unions have urged MPs to take whatever measures are necessary to remove the possibility of leaving the EU without an agreement, whether on March 29 or at any other point in the future.

NFU President Minette Batters, NFU Cymru President John Davies, NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick and Ulster Farmers’ Union President Ivor Ferguson issued the following statement in the wake of the vote in Parliament:

“The outcome of the vote means there is no realistic possibility of achieving an orderly departure from the EU on March 29. A no deal exit from the EU would be a catastrophe for British farming and food production.

“Therefore some sort of extension of the Article 50 deadline will be necessary.  It is critical that the Government and MPs identify a clear strategy to secure Parliament’s support for a negotiated Brexit deal between the UK and the EU and use any extension of Article 50 constructively. We cannot simply delay the prospect of no deal. 

“This continued uncertainty is having real world consequences on farming businesses – and wider British industry – already.  It is time for MPs to consider the concessions they will need to accommodate to support a deal that finally brings to an end the enormous and damaging uncertainty that is already undermining our food and farming sectors.”

Separately Defra has today published new guidance for food and drink businesses to prepare for Brexit, which can be found here:

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