Clause 4 - Multi-annual financial assistance plans

Part of Agriculture Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:45 pm on 12th October 2020.

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Photo of Luke Pollard Luke Pollard Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 6:45 pm, 12th October 2020

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that intervention. The important thing I have taken away from my discussions with farmers in Devon and on visits to farms up and down the country is that their votes are not guaranteed. The votes of rural communities are not guaranteed and are there to be won, but they need to be won through a strong vision and through delivery. Taking votes for granted is not a good electoral strategy anywhere. We need to look at what farmers will benefit from and what will they not benefit from. I worry that leaving a back door to their being undercut in trade deals is neither a good economic strategy for our country, nor a good political strategy for those people advocating it.

I expect the amendment to strengthen the Trade and Agriculture Commission to be redrafted in the Lords, and I hope it will come back to us soon. Amendment 16, on strengthening the trade commission, and amendment 18, on food standards, are a one-two—they are a classic British double act. I do not believe that the temporary and fragile Trade and Agriculture Commission would be able to stop the International Trade Secretary, Dominic Cummings and the Prime Minister signing a trade deal with America that would include imports of chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef. That is why we need that one-two—strengthened scrutiny of trade deals and protection for our farmers—in law.