Guest column: Brexit is not an excuse to undercut British farmers

Sir Kevin Barron MP
Sir Kevin Barron MP

This week, we have seen many reports in papers about food standards and post-Brexit trade deals.

I believe it is vital that the Government maintains high food and animal welfare standards in any trade deals negotiated after Brexit.

The Government says it will not water down standards as part of any future trade agreements, but various organisations are worried that food and farming standards could be used as bargaining chips in negotiations.

Further-more, the International Trade Secretary has previously argued for the safety of products like chlorine-washed chicken and sought to downplay the issue.

I think it is vital that any future trade deals are open to Parliamentary scrutiny and public debate.

I was disappointed that the Government’s Trade Bill did not include such measures when it was introduced to the House of Commons, and I therefore opposed it.

However, I will continue to press for proper transparency and scrutiny of trade deals when the Government sets out its policy on future trade deals.

We must not allow Brexit to be used as an excuse to undercut our farmers and flood Britain’s food chain with inferior produce.

I am therefore backing Fairtrade Fortnight, which supports millions of farmers across the world.

Fairtrade certification helps these farmers and producers earn a minimum, sustainable, fair price, and allows them to reinvest back into their communities.

The Fairtrade certification challenges the injustices of conventional trade.

Labour will work to make the rules fairer and is committed to defend workers’ rights in the operations of British business around the world.

Britain should set the gold standard in development-friendly trade policy.