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).

 

Family Farm

 

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.”