Lib Dems urge Boris Johnson to protect farmers post-Brexit

3 December 2019, 08:45

Jo Swinson has called on Boris Johnson to commit to protecting British farmers post-Brexit as concerns heighten over a possible US-UK trade deal
Jo Swinson has called on Boris Johnson to commit to protecting British farmers post-Brexit as concerns heighten over a possible US-UK trade deal. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Jo Swinson has said the Prime Minister must use talks with Donald Trump to protect British farmers and consumers in any US-UK trade deal post-Brexit.

The Lib Dem leader will use a speech on Tuesday to call on Boris Johnson to ensure any discussions on the sidelines of the Nato summit will feature talks around the UK maintaining its food standards.

Jo Swinson claims leaked documents revealed by the Labour Party last week show American officials are pushing the UK to allow greater use of chemicals in the production of food.

This would include chlorine-washing chicken and growth hormones in beef cattle, according to the Lib Dems.

Highlighting the threat Brexit poses to British farmers, Jo Swinson's party said there would be a loss of EU financial support, pointing out tariffs for 80% of UK agricultural products that are traded with the bloc and labour shortages due to the end of free movement.

Ms Swinson said: "Boris Johnson's Brexit plans threaten to put our farmers out of business, through crippling tariffs for exports to the EU and labour shortages that would leave food rotting in the fields.

"To make matters worse, Johnson's desperation for a post-Brexit trade deal with Donald Trump means UK farmers risk being undercut by low-standard imports from the US.

"Boris Johnson must give a guarantee that our farmers and world-leading food standards will not be sacrificed on the altar of a Trump trade deal.

"Only the Liberal Democrats have a plan to stop Brexit so we can build a brighter future for British farmers and consumers.

"We will protect the vital supply chains that we rely on to put fresh food on the table, and uphold the high standards in food production that are the pride of our farming sector."

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