MPs have rejected the latest attempt to require imported food meets domestic legal standards from 1 January 2021.
MPs voted by 332 to 279 to overturn House of Lords amendment 16 to the Agriculture Bill which sought to ensure trade deals at least match UK domestic animal welfare standards. Fourteen Conservative MPs rebelled against their own party, which did not include a single MP from Wiltshire.
The amendment would have ruled out food items such as chlorinated chicken, eggs and hormone treated beef from future trade deals.
This comes amid criticism as the 2019 Conservative manifesto pledged:
“In all of our trade negotiations, we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards.”
Campaigners want to protect food standards by law amid fears that imports from the US will cause a race to the bottom in standards.
On Monday, campaigners drove their tractors to London yesterday for a last-ditch attempt to demand politicians uphold British food standards. This included campaigners from Save British Farming, the NFU, the Tenant Farmers Association among others.
Victoria Charleston, Parliamentary Spokesperson for Salisbury commented:
“On Monday, Wiltshire’s MPs, including Mr Glen, voted against protecting our farmers and our food standards from adverse trade deals.”
The Conservatives were elected on a pledge to uphold standards and now they are selling farmers down the river. They have broken their promise to protect British farmers and our environment.
No one wants lower-quality food on our dinner tables, but there is an increasing risk this could happen.
If we have imports coming from America, which are heavily subsidised and reared to lower standards, British farmers won’t be able to compete.
Liberal Democrats will continue to campaign to protect farmers in Wiltshire and across the country.”
Cllr Brian Mathew, Wiltshire Lib Dem Spokesperson for Climate Change said:
“Farmers across Wiltshire are worried about the future – they are worried that the UK is to be flooded with poor-quality food undercutting their high-quality produce.
“As we move towards more environmentally sustainable systems at home, it’s vital that we do not undermine this with food imports that don’t meet standards here in the UK.
Disappointingly, Wiltshire’s MPs, including Mr Glen, voted against protecting our farmers and our food standards from adverse trade deals yesterday. Actions speak much louder than words. @journalupdate @New_ValleyNews https://t.co/cIA1LpucqO— Victoria (@VCharlestonLD) October 13, 2020