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Letter: Why Did Guildford’s MP Fail to Protect UK Farmers?

Published on: 2 Jun, 2020
Updated on: 2 Jun, 2020

From Brian Creese

Chairman of the Guildford Labour Party

The 2020 Agriculture Bill, currently going through parliament, provides the legislative framework for replacement agricultural support schemes and provides a range of powers to implement new approaches to farm payments and land management.

Last week the House of Commons voted on a number of amendments, most notably Conservative MP Neil Parish’s amendment which sought to protect UK farmers from low-standard food imports.

The clause would have prevented future trade deals from allowing food into the UK not produced to the standards required of farmers and processors within the UK. This is the back door which could lead to products such as chlorinated chicken and intense battery farmed animals being sold in this country.

Despite having previously committed to safeguard our farming industry from cheap food imports, the government did not support the amendment which was defeated by 51 votes.

22 Conservative MPs voted for the amendment, including Simon Hoare, who is also chairman of the Commons Northern Ireland affairs select committee. He warned that food imports to this country would be cheap “for no other reason bar the fact that they were raised to lower standards”.

The National Farming Union’s president Minette Batters has said: “We have the chance to become a global leader in climate-friendly farming, and neither farmers nor the public want to see that ambition fall by the wayside because our trade policy does not hold food imports to the same standards as are expected of our own farmers.”

Members of the Guildford Labour Party note that Guildford’s Conservative MP, Angela Richardson, failed to support the amendment, and we have requested a statement from her explaining to her constituents why she is taking this position.

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Responses to Letter: Why Did Guildford’s MP Fail to Protect UK Farmers?

  1. Peta Malthouse Reply

    June 2, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    This is gross and shows us that whatever they claim the government are determined to sign up to a US farm goods deal. All those who have campaigned about hormones in beef and chemicals given to pigs that make their meat leaner should note. US farm standards have no difficulty with it.

    Please remember that although you feel confident in being able to carefully filter out US imports you will find it more difficult to exclude it from your prepared meat items and outlets and our farmers will go bust; their markets with the EU will disappear.

  2. John Schluter Reply

    June 3, 2020 at 12:08 am

    Perhaps Angela Richardson could also explain why and on what safe evidence, she voted for a return to the physical attendance of MPs to Parliament’s buildings despite her own government’s advice to work from home if at all possible?

  3. Brian Creese Reply

    June 6, 2020 at 10:49 am

    I have now received a reply to my email from Angela Richardson. She points me towards this statement on her website.

    I have to say I find this very poor. This is a centrally prepared statement about the entire Bill. My question was why she had voted against an amendment that would have safeguarded the quality of our food supply. She has not made any attempt to engage with the questions I raised or explain her reasoning. Very disappointing.

    Brian Creese is the chairman of the Guildford Labour Party

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