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Protection of UK Food Standards

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:25 pm on 24th June 2020.

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Photo of John Lamont John Lamont Conservative, Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk 7:25 pm, 24th June 2020

Welcome to the world of Scottish politics, Madam Deputy Speaker.

To continue, those who were advocating for those amendments were, at best, naive about the consequences of their actions or, at worst, reckless with the future of not just our food exporters, but every other business that hopes to export its produce around the world.

An isolationist approach may be one that the SNP wants to advocate, but I want Scotland and Britain to take their places as global trading partners, so we can sell our top-quality food produce to every corner of the planet. Others may want to restrict the choices available to our businesses, but I hope that SNP Members will come clean and explain that they want to restrict our ability to trade. Their isolationist, anti-trade policy is not one that I think the people of Scotland, or across Britain, want to support.

I am entirely in agreement with the desire to create a thriving domestic agricultural industry that is not undercut by cheap foreign imports, while maintaining and promoting high animal welfare, environmental and food standards abroad. But the answer is not to pass legislation that would create an extreme, blanket, protectionist approach and to slam doors in the faces of our exporters. We need a robust framework that provides support to primary producers to provide security of food supply, while expanding the global trade opportunities to get high-quality Scottish produce on to kitchen tables in as many countries around the world as possible. I believe that the Agriculture Bill provides a platform for those expanded trade opportunities, while maintaining the tough environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards that we all want to see maintained. I know that Scottish farmers have what it takes to compete with the rest of the world, and Scottish farmers can be confident that this UK Government will back them all the way in securing the markets that they need to prosper in future.