Leave voters urge PM to protect UK farmers from cheap food imports

Leave voters urge Boris Johnson to protect British farmers from cheap food imports in post-Brexit trade deals

  • The Prime Minister has been asked to safeguard British farms in post-Brexit deals
  • Brexit backers are more likely than Remainers to insist we outlaw imported food 
  • Deltapoll findings come amid growing unease of impact of Brexit on UK farms

Boris Johnson faces a fresh call today to safeguard British farms in post-Brexit trade deals after a poll found that Leave voters were keener than Remainers to protect quality, home-grown food.

Nearly three quarters of people who voted to leave the EU say all food entering the country should be produced to British environmental standards.

Brexit backers are also more likely than Remainers to insist we should outlaw imported food produced using pesticides banned in this country.

The Deltapoll findings come amid growing unease over the impact on the UK’s world-renowned farming sector from post-Brexit trade deals, including ones with Australia and New Zealand which critics fear could lead to cheaper, lower-quality produce.

Boris Johnson faces a fresh call to safeguard British farms in post-Brexit trade deals after a Deltapoll found that Leave voters were keener than Remainers to protect quality, home-grown food

There have also been worries that a future US trade deal could lead to hormone-treated meat imports.

Nearly three in four Brexiteers – 74 per cent – believe the UK should insist that all imported food is produced to the same environmental standards UK farmers must abide by.

That compares with 66 per cent of Remainers.

Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers’ Union, said: ‘This poll shows that protecting quality, home-grown British food has never been a Leave vs Remain issue.

‘However you voted in the EU referendum, it’s clear the British public will never accept food imports that are not produced to the same standards that British farmers have to abide by here.’

The Mail on Sunday’s Save Our Family Farms Campaign has drawn attention to the risks to the UK’s £10 billion agricultural industry.

The new poll shows 77 per cent of Leave voters say all food entering the UK should be produced to the same rules on antibiotics that British farmers must follow, with 70 per cent of Remainers taking that view.

In June, Liz Truss, then International Trade Secretary, said: ‘I don’t buy this defeatist narrative that British agriculture can’t compete’

The poll, for the cross-party European Movement, also found support for protecting quality British food across the political divide.

Last night, Labour peer and European Movement chairman Andrew Adonis said: ‘Importing chlorinated and hormone-injected food from the other side of the world is not what Britons want.’

Ministers have played down farmers’ fears and highlighted future opportunities.

In June, Liz Truss, then International Trade Secretary, said: ‘I don’t buy this defeatist narrative that British agriculture can’t compete.

‘We have a high-quality, high-value product which people want to buy, particularly in the growing middle classes of Asia.’

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