Parliament must pursue amendments to agri bill to protect food security and safety

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) says MPs and Lords must continue to work to introduce changes to the UK Agriculture Bill which protect the UK’s food security and maintain standards for consumers, after a critical amendment was blocked by the UK Government.

During the third reading of the Agriculture Bill - the first of its kind to take place under Westminster’s coronavirus 'hybrid' proceedings and electronic voting process - a clause which would prevent future trade deals from allowing food into the UK not produced to the standards required of farmers and processors in the UK was defeated by 328 to 277 votes, having failed to receive the support of the UK Government. 

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “The FUW has highlighted the need for such an amendment in oral and written evidence to UK Parliament and Welsh Assembly committees. We believe it was a grave error on the part of the Government to oppose the amendment given that it had the support of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee and was supported passionately by MPs from across the political spectrum.”

Mr Roberts said FUW members and the public were appalled that an attempt to protect UK farmers and consumers from food produced to lower health, welfare and environmental standards had effectively been blocked by the Government, at a time when the importance of protecting the food security and health of the Nation was at the top of the agenda.

“With the Agriculture Bill now due to be considered by the House of Lords it is essential that they do all they can to correct this position before the Bill returns to the House of Commons, and I truly hope that the Government will support rather than obstruct this.”