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No Deal: Agriculture

Volume 662: debated on Thursday 27 June 2019

9. What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the effect on UK farmers and agriculture of the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement. (911600)

We continue to have regular conversations with ministerial colleagues across the Government on all aspects of exiting the EU. To provide certainty to farmers and landowners, the Government pledged to commit the same cash total in funds for farm support until the end of this Parliament. That commitment applies to the whole of the UK in both a deal and no-deal scenario.

After studying the Government’s no- deal notices, the National Farmers Union has said that a no-deal Brexit would be “catastrophic” for British agriculture. Why then does the Secretary of State talk up a no deal as a viable option and back a leadership candidate who supports leaving on 31 October, “do or die”?

We have had a deal, which the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends and colleagues rejected three times. It makes absolutely no sense for them to complain about the prospect of no deal when they rejected a deal so comprehensively on three occasions.

What progress has been made in setting up the successor scheme to the EU’s geographical indications system, which has proved so commercially lucrative for food and drink manufacturers, including people who produce Welsh beef and Welsh lamb?

We have made a lot of progress on trying to replace a lot of the EU’s funds and the regional way in which they allocate money. We have the UK shared prosperity fund, details of which will be introduced next year.

In the recent Tory leadership debate, the Foreign Secretary challenged his rival over no deal, saying:

“Let me ask Boris a question: what would you say to a sheep farmer in Shropshire that I met whose business would be destroyed by 40% tariffs?”

What would the Minister say to that sheep farmer?

We have already made a commitment in this House to support our agricultural industries and our farmers under any circumstances, whether that is a deal or no deal. We have an Agriculture Bill that will allow the Secretary of State to provide the support that our people need.