Scottish Tories Challenged Over Food Standards Threat

Douglas Ross called upon to stand up to Boris Johnson to stand up for Scotland’s farmers, food producers and consumers.

Douglas Ross and the Scottish Tory MPs challenged to grasp the last opportunity to protect Scotland’s food standards, food producers and consumers from the threat of watered-down standards post-Brexit, ahead of the Agriculture Bill returning to Parliament today.

With amendments being brought forward from the Lords, the party’s Shadow DEFRA Secretary has called on the six Scottish Tory MPs to stand up to Boris Johnson and back proposals to the Bill which aim to secure the high standards currently in place, and prevent a race to the bottom as the UK chases trade deals.

It comes after a coalition of health and food experts, farmers, and food charities, wrote to MPs backing calls to enshrine protections into legislation.

NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick added that “It is vital that future trade deals do not curtail our ability to grow our reputation as a nation of quality food and drink by undercutting domestic production with imports produced to standards illegal or unacceptable here.”

A survey recently published by Which? found that the overwhelming majority of Scottish people are opposed to the lowering of standards that will allow chlorinated chicken and hormone-injected beef to flood Scottish shops and supermarkets.

Commenting, SNP Shadow DEFRA Secretary Deidre Brock MP said:

“Scotland’s thriving food and agriculture sectors face a clear threat from the Tory government and their pursuit of post-Brexit trade deals – which risks selling out our key industries and consumers if necessary protections are not in place.

“SNP MPs will back the amendment which seeks to enshrine current high standards into legislation and to make sure they are only ever strengthened – not undermined.

“We will resist UK government attempts to remove these provisions – and call on Scottish Tories to do the same. 

“With industry bodies, food charities and experts sounding the alarm over the impact of lowering standards, MPs must back measures to ensure that our food producers, farmers, and consumers are protected.

“It’s no secret the Tory government would sacrifice the high standards currently in place in exchange for a post-Brexit trade deal – harming our industries and farmers, allowing low-quality produce to flood our shelves, and inflicting lasting damage upon our businesses.

“Shoppers have some idea of the quality of what they buy in the shops because of the regulations in place which ensure the quality of their food from farm to shelf.

“Those safeguards will all be dumped if the UK government has its way.

“Douglas Ross may continue to run the line, but he is running out of excuses over his failure to stand up for Scotland’s interests.

“The question for the Scottish Tory MPs now is – will they grow a backbone and stand up to Boris Johnson and stand up for Scotland’s industries and consumers, and support the amendment? Or sell them out by refusing to support the measures?

“Failing to secure those protections will once again make clear that the only way to properly protect our interests is by becoming an independent country.

“Agriculture is devolved to the Scottish Parliament and any grubby attempt to impose lower standards on Scotland would be nothing short of an undemocratic power grab.”