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UFU disappointed by Agriculture Bill amendment rejection

Victor Chestnutt, president, UFU.

MPs’ rejection of the Lord Curry amendment to the UK Agriculture Bill is not only a huge blow for UK agriculture but also for consumers, says the Ulster Farmers’ Union, as it would have ensured all imports met UK animal welfare and environmental standards.

“While we recognise the UK Government’s repeated commitment that it will not lower its food safety standards, which are currently safeguarded in UK law, and also that a Trade and Agriculture Commission has been recently established by the Government in which we and other UK agri-food industry representatives are involved, the vote in the House of Commons was a missed opportunity that has ultimately put the future of UK food and farming in jeopardy,” said Victor Chestnutt, president, UFU.

“We could see no reason to forego a stronger, clearer and more coherent role for MPs in the agreement of trade deals in a way that would not hinder the Government’s ability to negotiate new trade agreements and pursue an independent trade policy.

“Without an official policy in place to stop trade deals being done with countries that produce food to standards that would be illegal here, there is a huge risk that our market will become flooded with cheap imports that do not meet the food needs and expectations of our consumers.

“With the Agriculture Bill due to return to the House of Lords, we hope a new suggested amendment by the Lords is put forward. One that gives the Commission more input and enables our MPs to voice their opinion to the House of Commons so that a vote can be reached in support of putting official legislation in place to protect our UK animal welfare and environmental standards.”

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