The Liberal Democrats have warned Owen Paterson should “hang his head in shame” for voting against measures to protect high environmental and animal welfare standards.
Conservative MPs rejected amendments to the Agriculture Bill which would have forced the UK Government to ensure that British food and animal welfare standards are maintained in any trade deals.
Owen Paterson failed to back these measures, despite over a million people signing an NFU petition calling for the UK Government to put laws in place that prevent imports of food that is produced in ways that are illegal here in the UK, and a well supported local on-line petition.
The Liberal Democrats have committed to continuing the fight to protect British farmers, including exploring further amendments to the Trade Bill.
Liberal Democrat spokesperson Helen Morgan added:
“The Conservatives promised to protect British farmers, but they have betrayed that promise.
“We now risk seeing foods that are currently illegal in the UK – like hormone treated beef, and fruit and vegetables produced using banned pesticide – making it onto our supermarket shelves.
“Owen Paterson should hang his head in shame. Despite the constraints of lockdown, North Shropshire Liberal Democrats were able to deliver a well supported on-line petition to him, highlighting the concerns of local residents about farming and food standards. He ignored them. He has let everyone across North Shropshire down by putting Boris Johnson’s government first.
Liberal Democrat Rural Affairs Spokesperson Tim Farron said:
“Unlike the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats back British farming. We want the Government to work in partnership with UK farmers to protect our world class food and animal welfare standards, cut greenhouse gas emissions and support the recovery of our natural environment.
“We will do everything we can to continue the fight to protect British farmers, including exploring further amendments to the Trade Bill.”