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Not giving MPs a say on Australia trade deal shows Govt set to throw farmers under a bus - Farron

May 26, 2021 7:44 AM
Originally published by Tim Farron

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has accused the Government of selling out British farming after it emerged that MPs would not get to scrutinise the UK's trade deal with Australia before it is signed.

Last night the Department for International Trade issued a tweet, saying: "We have always been clear Parliament will be able to scrutinise Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) following signature, rather than at the stage where agreement in principle is reached."

The Government's proposals to let Australian farmers sell tariff-free into the UK has attracted widespread criticism, with the NFU warning that it could throw British family farms under a bus, and the RSPCA fearing that it could 'sell out' Britain's high animal welfare standards.

Tim is tabling a written Parliamentary Question to ask International Trade Secretary Liz Truss to appear before the House of Commons to allow MPs to scrutinise the trade deal before it gets signed off.

Tim said: "It is an act of utter cowardice for the Government to only let MPs scrutinise the Australia trade deal after it has been signed and shows the complete contempt they have for British farmers.

"The Conservative Government are so weak and desperate to get a trade deal that they are prepared to sell out British farming and now they're running scared of the farmers who they have chucked under a bus.

"This trade deal will be a historic betrayal of British farming and will set a dangerous precedent - if Australian farmers are given the green light to undercut British farmers then it's likely the Government will allow Canadian, New Zealand and American farmers to do the same.

"It's not too late for the Government to grow a backbone and stand up for British farmers and Britain's world-leading animal welfare and environmental standards."