The president of the National Farmers Union (NFU) has said that politicians would be “immoral and hypocrites” if they failed to give Parliament a final say on post-Brexit trade deals.
NFU leader Minette Batters said the agriculture sector faces competition from food produced to lower standards in other countries, meaning that any deals must be guaranteed a guaranteed level of scrutiny than the union fears they will get.
Currently, there is no requirement for Parliament to debate trade deals before they are signed into law, and safeguards to allow MPs to reject such trade deals are limited.
The NFU fears that this situation could result in a massive increase in the amount of food being imported that is produced in ways that would be illegal in this country.
The union also wants Parliament to be provided with independent advice about the impact every trade deal will have on the UK’s food and farming standards before it decides whether to accept or reject them.
An amendment to the Agriculture Bill that has been put forward to the House of Lords would give this duty to the new Trade and Agriculture Commission, which was set up by the Government in July.
Peers have already clashed with the Government, with Lord Curry of Kirkharle, who is leading the Lords’ revolt, saying that if the Bill goes through without amendment, the UK’s food production could be in danger.
Echoing this sentiment, Ms Batters gave the stark warning that if the latest moves are rejected, it will be “game over” in the fight to uphold food standards and ensure Parliament’s scrutiny of deals.