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Last chance for food standards as city MP backs British farmers

  • Labour MPs are pushing the Government yet again to adopt a legal guarantee that British animal welfare and environmental standards won’t be undercut in post-Brexit trade deals
  • 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, putting many British farms at risk

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

In the latest crunch vote on British food standards, MPs will decide on Wednesday whether to back British farmers and stop post-Brexit trade deals from allowing in imports of lower standard food to the UK like chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef.

Fruit and wheat farming and other types of agriculture support over 48,000 jobs in the South East and produce £2.2 billion in income for the region each year, but analysts have warned that abandoning existing environmental, health and animal welfare standards could risk the viability of the sector.

Labour has joined the National Farmers Union, leading environmental and consumer organisations such as the RSPCA, National Trust and Which?, as well as celebrities Jamie Oliver and Joe Wicks to fight this threat to British agriculture, with the party’s MPs voting again today to safeguard farming jobs and livelihoods.

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.

However, the Government is expected yet again to effectively vote out their own manifesto commitment from the Bill on Wednesday, 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:

“People in Portsmouth are passionate about animal welfare and quality British food, 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 chlorine-washed chicken or hormone-treated beef in our city’s shops and restaurants, or hidden in food on our children’s plates in school, or served up in hospital.

“I won’t back down from the fight to protect our high British food standards and farmers.  That’s why I challenged Tory MPs again today to back Labour’s amendment to safeguard our high animal welfare, environmental and public health standards.”

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

“It is beggars belief that South East Tory MPs will yet again breach their own manifesto pledge to vote against the interests of British farming on Wednesday.

“Fruit and wheat farming and other types of agriculture are vital to the economy of the South East, but allowing low-quality imports to flood our market could drive British farmers out of business. It’s not just Labour saying this – it’s the National Farmers Union, leading environmental groups and, according to Which?, 93 per cent of the British public.

“The Government needs to abandon this disastrous course and put into law the cast-iron guarantee that they’ll never allow trade deals to undermine the viability of British farming.”