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Sheep Farming: No-deal EU Exit

Part of Election of Select Committee Chairs (Notice of Election) – in the House of Commons at 10:22 pm on 3rd September 2019.

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Photo of Jenny Chapman Jenny Chapman Shadow Minister (Exiting the European Union) 10:22 pm, 3rd September 2019

My hon. Friend makes an important point. Yes, in theory and given enough time, it may be possible to find new markets, but it will be too late by then, because our flock will have been decimated and will take decades to rebuild. Should the situation improve in future years, with new markets, it might just be possible to re-establish the flock, but it really is not likely. Once the breeding ewes have gone and their special characteristics have been lost, it will take years to recreate the unique features of our national flock. Tens of thousands of jobs and our treasured landscape would be lost, and this is all so preventable.

A minimum of a two to three-year transitional deal is needed, and we need agreements that recognise the safety and quality of our produce. Critically, we must increase the capacity of essential cold storage facilities now. When Ministers reassure me and try to reassure farmers, they need to explain what precisely they intend to do.