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While Covid-19 steals all the headlines, you may have missed the fact that Conservative MPs have voted to allow lower-quality food to be imported into the UK.

They deliberately set themselves against an amendment to a new Agricultural Bill, stating that no free trade deal should be signed that allows low-quality food into the country.

It’s not so much Marie Antoinette saying “Let them eat grass” as Boris Johnson saying “Let them eat chlorinated chicken”.

The website Yorkshire Bylines published a list of MPs in the county who voted to reduce the quality of the food we all eat (above).

You can see if your MP agreed with them by checking the Parliament website here.

To her shame, in a rural constituency, This Writer’s MP Fay Jones also voted to reduce food quality.

According to Yorkshire Bylines:

The amendment’s defeat was all the more shocking because the clause was merely an affirmation of what was in the Tory manifesto just six months ago which declared:

“We will defend British industries from dumping and other anti-competitive practices from overseas.” and “In all of our trade negotiations, we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards.”

Conservative party manifesto 2019 – page 57

The amendment had the backing of the National Farmers Union and the Country Landowners Association as well as the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs Select Committee.

The fact that the government did not support the amendment should concern us all.

The excuse given by Victoria Prentis, parliamentary under-secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs (HERE column 295), was that it could somehow affect the export of goods such as whisky and potatoes. She explained that an assessment of the standards of other countries with whom we are trying to negotiate continuity trade agreements, could not be done by December – a deadline that the government has imposed on itself.

The report stage of the Agriculture Bill was followed by a debate and third reading. It now goes to the House of Lords for consideration. The hopes of many farmers will be resting on peers to protect then from low priced and low quality imports in future.

Source: Revealed, the Yorkshire MPs happy to see your food quality reduced – Yorkshire Bylines

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