Boris Johnson’s government criticised for “firing the starting gun on a post-Brexit race to the bottom” after it rejected a crucial amendment to the Agriculture Bill that would have prevented high standards currently in place being watered-down in order to secure trade deals.
The amendment brought forward from the Lords aimed to enshrine current domestic standards into legislation and would have looked to strengthen, not lower, them.
The move would have prevented low-quality produce from entering Scotland and being sold in our shops, and key Scottish industries being undercut and undermined.
However, the Tory government ignored concerns raised by health experts, farmers and food producers, and consumers, and voted down the amendment to the Bill.
Commenting, the SNP’s Shadow DEFRA Secretary Deidre Brock MP (pictured) said:
“By refusing to enshrine into legislation the high standards that currently protect us, Boris Johnson’s government has fired the starting gun for a post-Brexit race to the bottom, which threatens our superb food and agriculture sectors and risks flooding our stores with low-quality produce.
“Rather than heeding warnings from dozens of organisations in Scotland representing farmers, consumers, health experts, food producers and charities, the Tories ploughed ahead with their reckless plans that could see our high standards being watered down to facilitate trade deals – threatening to undermine businesses.
“Despite a majority of Scottish MPs backing moves to enshrine high food standards into legislation and protect our outstanding food and agriculture sectors, Scotland’s voice and vote was ignored.
“Yet again it’s been made clear that Westminster is simply not acting in our interests and that the only way to properly protect those interests is by becoming an independent country.
“Agriculture is devolved to the Scottish Parliament and any attempt to impose lower standards would be nothing short of an undemocratic power grab – with any notion of this union being a partnership of equals being shattered beyond repair.”