Clause 4 - Multi-annual financial assistance plans

Part of Agriculture Bill – in the House of Commons at 8:15 pm on 12th October 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Anthony Mangnall Anthony Mangnall Conservative, Totnes 8:15 pm, 12th October 2020

It is always a pleasure to speak in debates such as this. I thank the Minister for the time she has spent informing Members from all parties about the course of the debate and for her work with many of the farmers in my constituency.

There has been a huge amount of fear-mongering in the House regarding the importing of chlorinated chicken and hormone-injected beef, and it has to stop. We all know that if SPS standards were to be changed, this House would have a say in doing so. That is something about which the Opposition do not seem to be informing the general public. We have heard that on the Government side but not on the Opposition side. I hope that will be reinforced in the closing remarks.

Since the introduction of the Bill and in my time as a Member of Parliament, I have asked for two things. I asked for a commitment on labelling, and the Minister stood at that Dispatch Box and committed to the consultation. I accept that, as Luke Pollard said, there are difficulties around that, but we must not see it as an impossibility. There are opportunities for us to create a labelling system that can promote the “buy local” argument throughout the country. I hope we might see from the Opposition the opportunity to develop that labelling system into something that is internationally recognised and copied.

We have also heard ideas about what scrutiny we could apply to trade deals. Deidre Brock said that the International Trade Committee did not have enough teeth; given the fact that it is led by her colleague, Angus Brendan MacNeil, if she feels it does not have enough teeth, we should either find another Chair or elect a new Member for it. The whole point is that the Secretary of State for International Trade has now given Parliament an extra degree of scrutiny.

I personally have asked about the idea that we might look at where we operate the trade commission. The hon. Member for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport was kind enough to mention me in his remarks, and although I am not sure it helps my career when he does that, we do need to look at extending that commission. If the Bill goes back to the Lords and then comes back to this House, my hon. Friend Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown and I will be looking keenly at extending the remit and length of that commission’s existence. It is important not only for what we say to our constituents but that the House has something that gives an extra layer of scrutiny.

I will support the Government tonight, but I will be looking to see what comes back from the Lords. I hope that we get some assurances from the Minister on the trade commission.