Back UK farmers, says Great British Bake Off's Prue Leith

By Tory MP Neil Parish

Not everyone is a farmer but everyone eats food.

That’s why everyone in the country has a stake in tomorrow’s Commons debate on the Government’s Agriculture Bill.

The Bill, which lays the framework for UK farming after Brexit, will have a crucial role in deciding what food you and your children will eat for many, many years to come.

In May, I led a Commons rebellion on the proposed Bill because it failed to protect our high animal welfare, environment and food standards in law as we leave the EU system and trade as a fully-independent nation.

Sadly, little has changed which is why tomorrow, unless Ministers see sense, I will lead a second rebellion.

While the current Bill doesn’t explicitly reduce standards, it leaves the door open to our domestic standards being undercut in new trade deals.

This is the crux of the problem.

Ministers have repeatedly said to MPs and to this newspaper that we will not compromise on our world-class standards in trade deals.

They cite our 2019 Conservative Manifesto, which puts that commitment in black and white, as evidence.

But it is not Ministers changing our own domestic standards that we are actually worried about - for now at least.

It is that, while we maintain those high standards here, we let in cheaper agricultural imports in new post-Brexit trade deals, undercutting the high-welfare, healthy food our farmers produce, as well as their competitiveness.

Hormone-treated beef and chlorine-washed chicken have grabbed the headlines.

But there other key divergences between UK laws and those of potential trade partners on things like sow stalls, stocking densities, battery cages, antibiotic use, pesticides, fungicides, and more.

The public cares deeply about the issue of food

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