Farmers frustrated by Brexit impasse in parliament
Industry leaders have called on Theresa May to rule out a no-deal Brexit after her EU withdrawal plan suffered a record defeat by MPs.
The House of Commons rejected the prime minister’s proposed deal by 432 votes to 202 – the biggest majority in parliamentary history – on Tuesday (15 January).
With no clear majority for an alternative outcome, the historic defeat raises the prospect that the UK could leave the EU without a deal on 29 March.
The UK Farming Roundtable, whose members include 14 farming organisations, said a no-deal Brexit would have a severe effect on UK food and farming.
Volatile farmgate prices and interrupted supplies would put 500,000 farming jobs at risk – and threaten the many firms that supply farm businesses, it warned.
Reliance on imports
NFU president Minette Batters said a properly managed and orderly Brexit was in the best interests of both farmers and the public. Agriculture is the bedrock of the UK’s largest manufacturing industry, food and drink – worth £113bn to the UK economy.
But she added: “There is a very real risk that a disorderly Brexit will lead to an immediate reliance on overseas imports that have been produced to lower standards, while many UK farms struggle to survive.”
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