EU Trade Negotiations

Part of Cabinet Office – in the House of Commons on 11th June 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Rachel Reeves Rachel Reeves Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

I am afraid that that does not quite answer the question about why the amendment from the chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee was not accepted. Let me push the right hon. Gentleman a bit further. He said on “Countryfile” in October 2018 that

“there is no point in having high animal and high environmental standards if you then allow them to be undercut from outside.”

When pressed on whether it would be a red line in any trade discussions, the Minister stated, “absolutely”. Yet on Tuesday in this House, in an answer to a question about such standards, the Paymaster General said that

“we should trust the consumer.”—[Official Report, 9 June 2020;
Vol. 677, c. 162.]

Are we, or are we not, able to trust the Government to maintain such standards? Can the Minister guarantee absolutely that there will be no dilution of environmental or animal welfare standards, and that the Government will not risk our ability to secure what is supposed to be an oven-ready trade deal with the EU for the sake of getting any deal with the US that would hurt British farming and water down environmental and animal welfare standards?