Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds has written to every Conservative MP to question their support for UK Farmers and the Trade Bill currently before the UK Parliament - which does not give Parliament any powers to scrutinise trade agreements, and Conservative opposition to the Agricultural Bill amendments which would have protected Food and Animal Welfare standards.
Read the full letter below:
Dear Welsh Conservative MPs,
SUPPORTING WELSH FARMERS
On 12th October you, along with every other Welsh Conservative MP, voted against a number of amendments to the Agriculture Bill, proposed by the House of Lords, whose effect would have been to ban the import of food with lower standards than those currently in force. The amendments aimed to protect food quality standards, environmental and animal welfare standards, and to ensure that our Welsh farmers can continue to produce the high-quality food for which they are rightly renowned, without the threat of being undercut by future imports of low- quality, low-standard food in future trade deals.
You will of course be aware that the Trade Bill currently before Parliament does not give Parliament any statutory powers to scrutinise future trade agreements, and indeed that your Government explicitly chose to reject amendments to the Bill that guaranteed such rights to Parliament.
Moreover, Clauses 2 and 3 of the Internal Market Bill, also currently before Parliament, provide that if Westminster decides, as part of a trade deal, to allow food to be imported into England that does not meet the standards in force in Wales (or in any of the other devolved administrations), we will be forced to accept that lower-quality food regardless of our own legislation. Effectively the Senedd’s powers to set standards for food quality and animal welfare will be bypassed. Those standards will no longer be set in Wales.
You were elected on a manifesto that pledged to guarantee food quality and animal welfare standards. Yet the Government’s record shows a repeated refusal to accept statutory protections for those standards.
I should therefore be grateful if you could outline what actions you personally intend to take to ensure that food and animal welfare standards in Wales are maintained, and that Welsh farmers do not face being undercut by low-quality imports.
Leader, Welsh Liberal Democrats