Last night, the Tory UK Government failed again to protect high UK animal welfare, environment and public health standards in food production and for putting the livelihoods of local farmers and food producers at risk.
In an important day for British food standards, MPs voted on 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. Labour voted to support the amendment, which would have guaranteed in law measures to prevent any weakening of standards in future post-Brexit trade negotiations. However, the move was defeated by Tory MPs who voted against.
The Government had a chance to put words into action but voted against putting their own 2019 manifesto commitment into action which is absolutely crazy. Without the necessary legal guarantees in place, our farmers now risk being undercut by food imports produced to lower animal welfare, environmental and food safety standards than those required in the UK.
I have consistently supported proposals that would have required food imports meet standards at least as high as those required under UK law and that all future trade deals should be open, transparent and subject to scrutiny. Unfortunately, they have all been voted down by the UK Government. I find this very worrying. We cannot trade away our values in pursuit of any trade deal.