Agriculture Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:40 pm on 10th October 2018.

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Photo of Pete Wishart Pete Wishart Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitution), Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons, Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee 3:40 pm, 10th October 2018

I am sincerely grateful to the hon. Lady because the other key point we have been hearing from Conservative Members today is that, apparently, there is no plan or policy from the Scottish Government. Of course we will have a Government Bill. But let me tell Conservative Members that this Bill presented by the Secretary of State is nothing other than an aspirational wish list. What we are doing is consulting with the sector. We will be hearing from our rural champions. Once we have heard back, a clear agricultural policy Bill will be secured to ensure that Scottish agricultural interests are properly looked after—it will not be this aspirational nonsense that we are hearing from this Government. We need an agricultural approach that acknowledges the full horror of a hard deal Brexit and the absolute disaster of a no deal if it comes along.

The Scottish Government’s “Stability and Simplicity” paper sets out a detailed five-year plan to minimise the potential disruption of this Tory Brexit to our rural communities. Our plan will give farmers and crofters stability during a period of unprecedented change not of Scotland’s making. We have always to remember that Scotland wanted nothing to do with this disastrous Brexit policy, and it is up to us to try to clear up this mess to ensure that our farmers are properly protected and that they will be able to do their business. When that consultation is concluded, the Scottish Government will set out their plans, taking into account recommendations from our own agricultural champions and the National Council of Rural Advisers. That is how to frame legislation: speak to the sector involved, ask it what it wants and what it would like to see in the Bill, and then legislate.