Today at Prime Minister’s questions, I asked Boris Johnson to clarify the UK government’s intentions on animal welfare and food standards.
The government have been avoiding the subject: they failed to enshrine protections in the Agriculture Bill, and earlier this week Ministers equivocated on this issue, so I called on the Prime Minister to “be clear today that high standards will be protected” and to establish a foods standards commission.
This issue is particularly important in East Lothian, known for its fertile land and with a dynamic and innovative food and drink sector.
The trade negotiations post-Brexit will be crucial to so many areas of our life, from our food to our finance, but also to our NHS, particularly relating to US drug companies getting access to our medicinal supply chain. I asked the Prime Minister to make an assurance “that we won’t face chlorinated chicken on our table, along with Kentucky-fried medicine in our hospitals.”
I have had a number of constituents contacting me recently to express significant concerns about the UK Government’s trade policy. It is clear that food standards, animal welfare, and environmental concerns are not a priority for this government who seem to be more interested in getting any trade deal done to prove a point about Brexit, rather than for the benefit of the people of these Islands. The long-awaited Brexit benefits are receding further into the distance every week and the future under an American Trade deal looks grim indeed for the sector and citizens.
The Prime Minster avoided the question, saying only that “we will be able on leaving the EU as we have we will be able to increase our animal welfare standards.” But without making any specific pledges on how that would work when He didn’t refer to food standards in his reply, but suggested that Scotland’s re-entry into the EU would be “completely contrary to the instincts of the British People.” Once again, completely ignoring the decision of the Scottish People to remain in the EU.