Express: Boris Johnson warned to brace for Tory rebellion as farmers reject post-Brexit US deal
25th June 2020
Boris Johnson has been hoping to strike a swift trade deal with the US to have in place at the end of the Brexit transition period. But as US President Donald Trump warned an agreement is unlikely to be signed ahead of the election, Mr Johnson has been warned of a potential rebellion from Tory MPs over farming. BBC reporter Ross Hawkins said: "Rebellious Conservatives are growing confident.
"Liz Truss is feeling a little insecure, which is a good place for her to be one tells me.
"For the Government, a spokesman says the UK will decide how to set and maintain its own standards and regulations and has been clear it will not sign a trade deal that will compromise high standards of food standards."
Despite reassurances from the Government, Mr Hawkins said many farmers remained "unimpressed" with pledges to protect the sector while securing a good deal with the US.
Leicestershire farmer Joe Stanley said: "You’ve got loopholes in the reassurances that have been given big enough to fly a squadron of chlorinated chickens through.
"It’s incredibly difficult to see how small a family farm such as ours could continue to operate profitably in the future. I can’t see how that could go on."
National Farming Union leader Minette Batters repeatedly voiced her concerns about the risks a quick trade deal with Washington could have on food standards.
Backers of the US-UK deal have long claimed British consumers will still have the possibility not to buy imported products if they are concerned about standards.
But Ms Batters pointed out buyers are not always given the chance to pick what they eat: "What about when you eat at a restaurant or a hotel? How do you know what you’re eating then? What it says on the menu may well not be what it actually is."
But despite the widespread concerns, Neil Shand from the National Beef Association insisted the UK must look out for the "opportunities" a new deal would provide the farming sector.
Mr Shand said: "Rather than contract ourselves and look at threats coming from other countries, we have to look at the possibilities.
"We should take it as a real opportunity."
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, who has been leading Britain's efforts to strike new trade deals across the world ahead of Brexit, has maintained the British farming sector is expected to benefit from a deal with the US.