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MP's disappointment at Bill rejection

By Rachael Glennie

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MP for Gordon, Richard Thomson, has spoken of his 'real disappointment' after the Scottish Conservative MPs rejected the UK House of Commons Agriculture Bill amendment.

MP Richard Thompson has expressed disappointment at the rejection of the Agricultural Bill amendment
MP Richard Thompson has expressed disappointment at the rejection of the Agricultural Bill amendment

The clause was aimed at ruling out overseas food imports that do not comply with the welfare and environmental UK standards.

As the UK prepares to leave the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, the legal framework in the Agricultural Bill will replace the support schemes currently available.

Mr Thompson voted to support the New Clause 2 amendment which would have required imported produce to at least meet the same standards for animal welfare, environmental protection, food safety, hygiene and traceability as exist already in the UK.

While all SNP MPs supported the measure, it was rejected by the north-east's Conservative MPs, who joined with other UK colleagues to defeat the move by 277 to 328, which was tabled by Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee chairman MP for Tiverton and Honiton Neil Parish.

Mr Thomson said: “Farming and food production are two of our key industries here in Gordon.

" I share the very real disappointment and confusion of many in rural Scotland who have seen their vital interests effectively put on the table to be traded away in future trade deal negotiations with the outcome of this vote.

"If standards are not maintained, our farmers will be vulnerable to unfair competition and our consumers left exposed to poorer standards.

" As it now stands, this bill threatens to undermine the Scottish agriculture and food production sectors which have worked so hard to build and maintain a reputation for quality and responsibility.

"It is beyond disappointing that when it comes down to the brass tacks of dealing with Brexit, so many who advocate ‘taking back control’ are so willing to give that control away when it comes to the food that we produce and eat."

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