Shropshire’s MPs voting in parliament yesterday (13/05/20) failed to stand up for British farmers and consumers by refusing to back an amendment to the Agriculture Bill which would have ensured agricultural goods imported into the UK from overseas meet British standards for food safety and animal welfare. Lucy Allan, Owen Paterson, Mark Pritchard and Daniel Kawczynski voted against the amendment, whilst Philip Dunne abstained. A number of other Conservative MPs supported the amendment, but it failed to pass.
MPs have specifically cited the government’s wish to secure a free trade deal with the US Trump administration as the reason for refusing to protect Britain’s existing high standards. Failing to require imported goods meet UK standards means foreign producers will be able to undercut British farmers and sell their goods cheaper. This risks critically undermining the livelihoods of farmers and others working in food production, and the entire local and regional economy in Shropshire and rural regions throughout the UK. It also means consumers buying products in shops in the future may not be able to trust the quality and standard of the food on sale.
The Shropshire Party has called on our county’s MPs to stand up for local farmers and producers and support rural communities as the UK leaves the European Union. The failure of our MPs to vote to protect farmers and consumers mutual interests, despite consistent lobbying by the NFU and others to support the amendment and their efforts to reassure voters at the general election in December, is an extremely disappointing betrayal of Shropshire’s communities.