NFU President Minette Batters yesterday met Prime Minister Boris Johnson, where she stressed the need for action to safeguard British farming’s high standards in trade policy.
Batters urged the Prime Minister to increase the parliamentary scrutiny of trade deals, in particular strengthening the Trade and Agriculture Commission to allow MPs to have their say on how trade deals would impact British food and farming.
The meeting happened two days after MPs voted down amendments to the Agriculture Bill that would have ensured in law that no post-Brexit food imports could be produced to lower standards than those required of British farmers.
She said: “It was good to have the opportunity to meet with the Prime Minister today, at such an important time for British farming.
“We are at a juncture that will have ramifications for both farming and the wider public for decades to come. I made clear that the nation cares deeply about British food and the high standards it is produced to. They do not want to see it undermined by imported food that could be produced to standards that are illegal here.
“Already, over a million people have signed our petition and tens of thousands of letters have been written to MPs on this issue. Those people want action to ensure our high standards of food production are not undercut.
“We also discussed the critical importance of getting our new agricultural policy right and the urgent clarity needed now for our fruit, veg and flower growers about where they will get their all-important workforce from in time for the 2021 season and beyond.
“I hope to continue to have constructive discussions with the Prime Minister and his government ministers as the Agriculture Bill reaches its final stages and throughout our trade negotiations with the EU and others.”