The SNP has warned of a “race to the bottom” as the Scottish agriculture sector hit out at Scottish Tory MPs who voted against protections for our quality food producers in the Commons this week.
A key contention of the UK Agriculture Bill is standards of food imports that will be allowed access to the UK market with the UK is no longer a member of the EU.
An amendment demanding that food imports must be produced to the same or higher standards as in Scotland and the rest of the UK was defeated in the Commons this week, with all six Scottish Tory MPs voting against it.
In the wake of the vote, former National Sheep Association in Scotland chair John Fyall said “farming constituents were thrown under the bus” by those who voted against and NFU Scotland called the move “deeply disappointing”.
Dave Doogan MP said:
“SNP MPs are proud to have backed Scotland’s hard-working producers by voting to include this clause in the Bill in support of Scottish Agriculture – it’s shameful that the Scottish Tories couldn’t bring themselves to do the same, risking a race to the bottom for food standards.
“Scotland’s farmers work incredibly hard to meet stringent standards of food production so the condition that food imports should also meet these standards is about creating a level playing field to compete on equal terms with international producers.
“The Tories have now thrown open the door to food imports of lower standards and which could come at horrendous environmental cost and with dreadful standards of animal welfare.
“Farmers and food producers in Scotland will doubtless now be asking who it is that stands up for them at Westminster – it’s clearly not the Tories who have now turned their back on Scottish agriculture.”