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Crunch Day for Food Standards as City MP demands Government back British Farmers

  • Labour is pushing the Government to adopt a legal guarantee that British animal welfare and environmental standards won’t be undercut in post-Brexit trade deals
  • PM challenged to back a Labour amendment to safeguard high UK food standards in the Government’s new farming Bill 
  • Concerns that chlorine-washed chicken, hormone-treated beef and food produced to lower animal welfare and environmental standards could be sold in the UK after Brexit undercutting British farmers

Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP is demanding the Government back British farmers and protect high UK animal welfare, environment and public health standards in food. 

In a crunch day for British food standards, MPs will vote on Monday whether to accept a Labour amendment made to the Government’s Agriculture Bill which would stop post-Brexit trade deals from allowing in imports of lower standard food to the UK like chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef.

The Government has said it won’t weaken food standards as part of a trade deal with the US or other countries with lower standards, but has made no legal commitment to guarantee this. Farming, environmental and consumer groups have been pressing Tory MPs for months to try and secure a guarantee, fearful that lower standard imports will undercut British farmers and standards.

The Government is expected to effectively vote out their own manifesto commitment from the Bill on Monday, after promising in 2019 that they wouldn’t compromise on high British standards in trade deals.

Commenting on the crunch vote, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“I know from my post bag people across Portsmouth are passionate about animal welfare, and they’re rightly worried about what might end up in our supermarkets and on our plates if the Government doesn’t make good on its promise to protect our high food standards. Nobody wants to see Trumps’ chlorinated chicken or hormone-treated beef in our city’s shops and restaurants.

I won’t back down from the fight to protect our high British food standards and farmers, and will be pressing the Government on Monday to back Labour’s amendment to safeguard our high animal welfare, environmental and public health standards in UK food.”

Luke Pollard MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary added:

The Government have said they back our British standards and farmers – it’s time to put their money where their mouth is. Ministers keep promising they’ll maintain high animal welfare and environmental standards after Brexit, but there’s still a serious threat that they will drop that promise to get the trade deals they’re so desperate to secure with Donald Trump and others.

“If the Government are serious about maintaining our high UK standards post-Brexit they should get a guarantee in law, and support Labour’s amendment on Monday to safeguard our standards and back British farmers.

To vote out their own manifesto commitment to protect food standards from their flagship food and agriculture Bill is absurd.”



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City MP backs call for action on animal cruelty during the lockdown

Labour has today called for the Government to take action on animal cruelty, with fears that there has been spike due to the lockdown.

Stephen Morgan MP has backed the Shadow Environment Secretary’s letter to his opposite number, the Environment Secretary, putting pressure the Government to deliver on a long-awaited increase of sentences for those found convicted of animal cruelty.

The RSPCA reported at the end of April that, since the Government announced the lockdown on Monday 23 March, their animal rescuers had already dealt with 21,137 incidents of animal cruelty and suffering animals which needed help.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Stricter sentences for animal abusers are long overdue. The point of parliament returning amid Covid-19 is so we can get important legislation like this sorted.

The fact animal abuse has grown amid this pandemic only enhances the need for government to do something about it. It would be a great loss of time, taxpayer’s money and resources if all the progress on this is lost so far.

We must send a strong message to all those who mistreat their pets that parliament will not waver when it comes paving the way for stricter penalties. I join colleagues in calling on government to seize control of this bill and show leadership in combating the abuse of animals.”

Due to Parliament sitting for fewer days because of the coronavirus crisis there is a real risk that the Private Members Bill that would increase prison sentences from the current six months to five years will fall.

This is because there are not enough sitting days that will consider private members bills between now and the expected Queen’s Speech in the autumn. Luke Pollard has asked the Government to take control of the existing Private Member’s Bill and adopt it as a Government Bill, to make sure it becomes law.

Luke Pollard MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, said:

“Increasing prison sentences for animal cruelty enjoys strong cross-party support but this bill has been delayed and delayed again. With the lockdown making this measure urgent, we are calling on the Government to ensure this measure becomes law urgently.

“We cannot have more dither and delay – it is our duty to make sure all pets are protected, and the Government must act now or more animals will suffer.”