Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

[2nd day]

Part of European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:24 pm on 1st February 2017.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow Conservative, Taunton Deane 6:24 pm, 1st February 2017

A whole raft of standards are critical as we leave Europe. We should embrace and harness the standards that have already been set and, indeed, tailor and improve them for our nation to make them much more suitable for the way we want to operate.

The agriculture and food industries are especially important in the south-west, where farm-related businesses turn over £2.7 billion a year—more than any other area in the country—and agriculture employs 80,000 people. In reformulating our life after the EU, we must consider very carefully how we are going to move forward after leaving the common agricultural policy. There are opportunities to develop a better framework and to develop an agriculture industry that is inextricably linked to the environment in a sustainable way. After all, we all depend on the environment for our air, water and food. We must build that into our industrial strategy and closely link it with our 25-year food and farming plans. Indeed, we have to make it work not only for the economy but for the rural social fabric so that we have a world that works better for everybody.

I urge the Secretary of State to harness the shared environmental legislation we already have from the EU, take it on board and adapt it so that it works better for us. We must keep to our climate change commitments—I am delighted that the Prime Minister has already spoken out on that issue—and, as my hon. Friend Victoria Atkins mentioned, maintain our high standards of food security and welfare, along with our nuclear standards. We must also consider how we deal with seasonal workers so that our industries can continue to move forward.

With understanding, co-operation and consideration, and by demonstrating that we are listening to people—not only in Taunton Deane but throughout the nation—I am optimistic that we can build a better future for generations to come. To that end, I shall be voting with the Government to trigger article 50.