Clause 4 - Multi-annual financial assistance plans

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

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Photo of Gary Sambrook Gary Sambrook Conservative, Birmingham, Northfield 8:15 pm, 12th October 2020

I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention. In fact, my family name comes from Shropshire, so I have a little bit of agricultural heritage.

The reason I am speaking in this debate is that many people across the whole country, in cities and in rural areas, care deeply about standards in food and especially deeply about standards in animal welfare. It makes us proud to be British that we have such high standards, especially towards animals. That is why I was proud to stand on our party’s manifesto, which was incredibly clear in stating:

“In all of our trade negotiations, we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards.”

Indeed, all the EU food safety provisions, including existing import requirements, would be transferred into UK law via the withdrawal agreement Act, as their removal would require new legislation. That is why I am supportive of the Government tonight. I take the Minister and the Bill at their word, because I feel passionately that we are going to deliver on these things.

Time and again, we hear the same old arguments and scaremongering from the Opposition Benches. To me, this boils down to two things that we regularly hear. One is the hatred of Brexit and the resistance to acknowledging that that vote took place. The other thing that worries me is the growing anti-American tone that we hear seeping through from the Labour Benches, and especially from the Benches of the separatists. That really does concern me. We hear it in the arguments about chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed beef all the time, yet those things are already prevented by law from being imported into this country. The Bill does not change that in any way. I can reassure my constituents, who care deeply about these issues, that that will not change.

The article that my hon. Friend Anthony Browne wrote over the weekend was an excellent way of describing the situation that we are in today. Are we really going to pass a law that would harm many of the world poorest people? That would be the indirect consequence of these Lords amendments. The EU does not have the levels of protectionism that these amendments are suggesting. Are they really saying that EU standards are too low? I will be supporting the Government today and voting against the Lords amendments.