Hung parliament sparks confusion; NFU vows to work with whoever forms next govt

Britain has a hung parliament following yesterday’s general election, with no party holding an overall majority of seats. The Conservatives have won the most seats, and are forecast to win 319 seats, seven short of the 326 required to command a majority.

Labour is forecast to finish on 261 seats, up 29 on the last parliament. It is expected the Conservatives will form the next government by forming a coalition with Northern Ireland’s DUP. However Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour has said it will attempt to form a minority government by relying on the support of several smaller parties including the Liberal Democrats, SNP and Greens.

The NFU has said it will work with whoever forms the next government.

NFU President Meurig Raymond said: “The NFU is committed to start working with whoever forms the new government to ensure all areas of Whitehall understand and value the importance of British food and farming.  The NFU has a good relationship with all parties and, as ever, will work with whoever is in power to promote the interests of British farming.

“British farming underpins the country’s largest manufacturing sector and with farming arguably the sector most impacted by Brexit, NFU members need clarity and certainty as soon as possible over who will govern the country and how they plan to support profitable, productive and progressive agriculture and horticulture in the future. The NFU will be seeking early meetings with Ministers. It is important for our industry to have clarity and see certainty from a functioning administration as soon as possible.

“British farms currently grow the raw ingredients for the UK food and drink manufacturing sector worth £109 billion and for every £1 invested, farming delivers seven-fold back to this country. Moreover, it is clear the British public value and want to continue to buy British food¹.”

“If the formal Brexit negotiations begin as planned on June 19 we will continue to push for the right post-Brexit trade deal, regulatory framework, a domestic agricultural policy suited to Britain and access to a competent, reliable workforce.

“We are also calling on the new government to support British farming through a number of other measures, including a commitment to continue with the 25-year TB Eradication strategy, ensuring regulation is based on robust scientific evidence, and tackling the increasing problems of rural crime. The Government should be proud to promote British food at home and abroad and champion British food and farming through its public procurement policy.”

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