In a boast of his independence to protect Scotland, the new Scottish Tory leader has been able to get away with making a claim to do something that would be unnecessary if he had not already voted to enable it, unchallenged, of course, by any media.
In May, he and all his Tory colleagues at Westminster voted, under pressure from their whip, against an amendment made by other Tories (!) to protect food standards in the UK.
Here’s what The Scottish Farmer had to say:
SCOTS TORY MPs were on the rack this week, after voting against a crucial amendment that would have protected UK farming from sub-standard food imports flooding in under post-Brexit international trade deals.
Last week Westminster MPs were debating and voting on the new UK Agriculture Bill, which will be the foundation of UK food and farming policy once the Brexit process is complete. The ‘New Clause 2′ amendment, tabled by Southern Conservative MP Neil Parish and supported by immediate past Defra Secretary of State Theresa Villiers, would have enshrined in law the principle that imported food must match the quality and animal welfare standards of UK farmers’ production.
Ahead of the debate, all 650 MPs were contacted by a coalition of all the UK farming unions, landowner and tenant bodies, plus all the major animal welfare and environmental organisations, and asked to vote for the amendment – but the Conservative Government refused to endorse the measure, and it was defeated by 328 to 277 votes.
Among those who voted down the imports standard safeguard were Scots Tories John Lamont, of Berwick Roxburgh and Selkirk, Andrew Bowie of Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, Douglas Ross of Moray, David Duguid of Banff and Buchan, Alister Jack of Dumfries and Galloway – who is also currently Scottish Secretary of State – and his predecessor David Mundell, of Clydeside and Tweedale, all MPs representing rural constituencies that rely heavily on farming.
Immediate past chairman of the National Sheep Association in Scotland, John Fyall asked: “Is there an obvious reason I am missing why the farming constituents were thrown under the bus? Years of work on animal and environmental care thrown away!” Perthshire farmer Jim Fairlie said: “Food and agri produce are very high on the agenda for Washington. They want access to our markets. They want no PGI or food labelling restrictions and they don’t want tariffs.