Johnson vows to support British farmers after Brexit

The Prime Minister was visiting Newport in South Wales.

Boris Johnson inspects the chickens (Adrian Dennis/PA)
Boris Johnson inspects the chickens (Adrian Dennis/PA)

By Adam Hale, PA

Boris Johnson has said farmers “will have the support they need” after Britain leaves the EU, as he visited a farm in South Wales.

The Prime Minister also hit back at comments made by Wales’s First Minister Mark Drakeford that a no-deal exit would be “catastrophic” for the Welsh economy.

On Tuesday Mr Johnson saw egg production at Shervington Farm, Newport, where he said the Government would intervene to support farmers’ incomes following Brexit.

He said: “We’ll make sure (the farming sector) have the support they need. If their markets are going to be tricky, then we will help them to find new markets. We have interventions that are aimed to support their incomes.

“What the Government is working on now with a great deal of energy and confidence is to ensure the farming sector is totally prepared.”

Asked about Mr Drakeford’s comments, Mr Johnson reiterated that the withdrawal agreement drawn up by Theresa May was dead, and Britain would be “at the races” if the EU entered into new negotiations.

He said: “We’re not aiming for a no-deal Brexit and we don’t think that’s where we’ll end up.

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“This is very much up to our friends and partners across the channel. We cannot go on with the withdrawal agreement as it currently is, everybody understand that, it’s dead.

“If the EU understands that I think we’re going to be at the races. If they can’t compromise then clearly we have to get ready for a no-deal exit.”

Speaking on Channel 4 News about his meeting with Mr Johnson, Mr Drakeford said: “It was an engaged conversation, not a meeting of minds.

“We have fundamentally different views on Brexit. The Prime Minister had told me that it was ‘vanishingly small’, the chance of leaving the EU without a deal.

“I’m afraid he wasn’t able to explain to me how that deal was to be struck.

“And, if we do leave the European Union without a deal, while he said there would be protections for Welsh industry and Welsh agriculture, he couldn’t describe what those protections would be.

“And when he told me that there would be new opportunities, I’m afraid the detail was vanishingly small.”

The farm’s owner, Victoria Shervington-Jones, said Mr Johnson told her “it’s all going to be OK” when she brought up how a no-deal Brexit could affect her business.

She said: “I told him quite a lot about our business and what we do and talked a little bit about how Brexit would effect eggs and egg products such as liquids and powder coming in from the likes of Ukraine and the USA, how that would be a really bad idea, and obviously that would happen with a no-deal Brexit because the welfare standards out in other countries are nowhere near as good as ours.

“He seems pretty confident that whatever happens it’s all going to be OK, apparently. That’s what he said. I didn’t get a chance to ask him to clarify that but that’s what he said.”

John Davies, president of the National Farmer’s Union Cymru, said farmers would need to see greater detail of the support Mr Johnson promised them.

He said: “We want three things. Full reciprocal tariffs across all sectors. We want them to assure that food coming in is priced to same environmental standards, animal welfare standards, and antibiotic level.

“Thirdly, public procurement. The Government buys a great deal of food for health service military, prison service. Buy British, take back control.”

PA Media

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