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Duguid defends agriculture bill voting

By David Porter

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Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid took to social media today to state his reasoning for voting against an amendment to the Agricultural Bill in Parliament this week.

MP David Duguid
MP David Duguid

The decision by Scottish Conservative MPs not to bach the amendment has already sparked discourse between political parties in Moray.

Commenting Mr Duguid said: "There has been much said regarding the passage of the UK Agriculture Bill this week, including on how I voted on amendments.

"First of all, any suggestion that I or my Scottish Conservative colleagues, 'voted for a reduction in food standards', is completely false.

"All of the Scottish Conservative MPs who voted against the amendment, New Clause 2, represent highly rural constituencies, many of us with personal or family connections to the agriculture sector ourselves.

"We will always have the best interest of the Scottish Agriculture sector at heart.

"To absolutely clear:

"The UK Government will not compromise on our high environmental and food safety standards – this includes retaining the ban on chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-injected beef. (This ban has already been retained in UK law, carried over from when we left the EU).

"There will be no trade deal, with any country, that will result in changes to our domestic standards.

"Under WTO rules, we can, and we will, reject any imported food that doesn’t comply with our own sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards and measures to protect human, animal or plant life/health.

"However, under those same WTO rules, although we can apply standards to the quality and health of the product, we cannot dictate or regulate on another country’s production methods – as long as the product itself meets our SPS standards.

"By the same token, we will not allow other countries to alter our domestic standards through these trade deals.

"These standards have been built up over many years and have the trust of the public and the world. In fact, I believe that it is exactly this unique selling point from which our farmers will benefit in new export markets.

He continued: "If ‘New Clause 2’ had passed on Wednesday, that would have put, not only the UK-US Trade Agreement at risk, but also any other future trade agreement – including with the EU – from which Scottish farmers stand to benefit from huge new export opportunities.

"I understand that concerns and assurances alike are more nuanced than is often presented in the media (and on social media in particular) – which is why the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss MP, along with her Ministers and officials, are committed to engaging with key stakeholders throughout the negotiation process.

"This will include NFU Scotland (NFUS), with whom, the first focused discussion was held yesterday, between the Secretary of State and NFUS President, Andrew McCornick

"I will continue to make sure that NFUS and their members are engaged throughout the negotiation process – as was the case in the call with the Secretary of State yesterday."

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