Borders MP welcomes moves to keep up food standards

Borders MP John Lamont has welcomed this week’s announcement by UK Government international trade secretary Liz Truss of plans for a new commission to seek to ensure food and animal welfare standards are maintained.

By Darin Hutson
Tuesday, 30th June 2020, 4:53 pm
UK Government international trade secretary Liz Truss. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
UK Government international trade secretary Liz Truss. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Announcing that move in a letter to National Farmers’ Union president Minette Batters, Ms Truss adds: “I wholeheartedly agree that any trade deal the UK strikes must be fair and reciprocal to our farmers and must not compromise our high standards of food safety and animal welfare.”

That commitment has been applauded by Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP Mr Lamont, saying: “This new commission will highlight trade opportunities for our hard-working British farmers, as well as making recommendations on higher animal welfare across the world.

“The UK Government has been crystal clear on food standards in this country.

“There will be no chlorinated chicken imported. There will be no hormone-injected beef imported. It is disappointing that so much misinformation has been spread around.

“Crucially, the European Union Withdrawal Act will transfer all existing food safety provisions, including existing import requirements, on to the UK statute book, where they will be enshrined in law.

“I believe fantastic food and drink producers across the Borders should be able to sell their high-quality products abroad and be enjoyed on kitchen tables everywhere.

“Striking trade deals across the world will make this all the more possible and help boost our economy.”

Mr Lamont’s welcome for the new commission follows a further defence of his refusal to back an amendment to an agriculture bill currently making its way towards becoming law.

He came under fire from farmers in May for not voting in favour of an amendment proposed by Devon MP Neil Parish intended to raise food standards, but he rejected that criticism at the time and offered a further explanation of his stance during a debate at the House of Commons last week.

“I love the local foods produced in the Borders, and I think that more people around the world should be able to enjoy food from Scotland and the rest of Britain too,” said Mr Lamont.

“That is why I am so excited by the opportunities that global trade deals will offer to Scotland and the UK.

“We should be proud not just of the amazing foods that we produce but of the fact that they are of the highest quality and meet the highest standards of production in the world.

“Consumers in our country not only have an extensive choice of foods but can be assured that they meet the highest quality.

“That is why it is so important that we get the agriculture bill currently going through this Parliament right – right for Scottish producers and right for Scottish consumers.

“Consumers rightly want high-welfare produce, and if our trading partners want to access the UK market, they must be required to meet those standards. Farmers and consumers have the right to expect no less.

“There has been considerable discussion about food standards in relation to international trade and, unfortunately, a high degree of misinformation about what will happen to our food standards.

“We are told by campaign groups and the opposition parties that parliament voted against protecting our food standards and that that opened the door to substandard food supplies flooding onto shop shelves.

“That is utter nonsense, and I want to use this debate to put the record straight.”