Agriculture Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:06 pm on 10th October 2018.

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Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 1:06 pm, 10th October 2018

Food security is vital. Throughout the history of the United Kingdom, food security has depended on both quality domestic production and access to food from other markets. Some 60% of our food, and 75% of the food capable of being grown or reared on our shores, comes from the United Kingdom, but of course we also have access to food from other nations, and it is vital that we continue to do so. The Government’s approach as we leave the European Union is designed to ensure both that we have the best possible access to European markets—I am sure that the House knows that we import more than we export to the EU—but that we take opportunities for our farmers to secure new markets. Critically—I am sure Helen Goodman will be interested to hear this—the sheepmeat sector not only has significant exposure to the EU, but benefits from trade deals with the middle east and the far east, where there is a growing market for the high-quality lamb and mutton that we produce in this country. Leaving the EU therefore gives us an opportunity not just to maintain our existing trading links, but to expand them.