Victoria Atkins, the MP for Louth and Horncastle, welcomed Prime Minister Theresa May’s ‘plan for Britain’ on Tuesday (January 17) - and demanded assurances that agriculture would be ‘at the centre’ of post-Brexit trade negotiations.
Victoria was speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon, shortly after the announcement of the Prime Minister’s 12-point plan for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU).
In the parliamentary debate that followed, Victoria said to Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis: “I welcome the Prime Minister’s plan for Britain and her speech today.
“I represent a rural constituency that has a long history, and future, of agriculture.
“Will my Right Honourable Friend assure the House that agriculture will be central in any trade negotiations, and that the high quality of food standards for which British farming is famed will be a key principle in those negotiations?”
David Davis replied: “Very simply, the answer is yes.
“We are a large market for European agriculture and food production, but they are a large market for us too, and we will keep that in mind.”
Later in the afternoon, Victoria spoke again the House of Commons in a debate entitled ‘Leaving the EU - The Rural Economy’.
During this debate, she asked her Conservative Party colleague Wendy Morton MP: “Is my Honourable Friend, like me, very pleased to hear the Secretary of State for Brexit’s announcement that agriculture will be at the centre of future trade negotiations with the EU and the rest of the world?”
Ms Morton responded: “My answer to that is short and simple: absolutely yes.
“Agricultural support is being maintained until 2020 to provide stability while a new agricultural policy is being developed, and we are guaranteeing for their lifetimes any agri-environment schemes that are already in place or are agreed in future, even if they run beyond our departure from the EU.
“Anything we can do help to build a sense of stability will be good for the industry.”