Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Tory MP: Brits should take up farm work and fruit picking after Brexit

Andrea Leadsom wants more young people to be engaged with countryside matters. Credit: PA

Britons should take up the fruit picking and farm labouring jobs currently done by European Union (EU) migrants, Cabinet minister Andrea Leadsom has suggested.

The environment secretary said she hoped more young people could be encouraged to "engage with countryside matters" and take up jobs and careers in food production.

Mrs Leadsom, who withdrew from the Tory leadership race in July after a motherhood row, said:

There are two sorts of employee who have migrated to this country. One are permanent employees who have come here from the EU or from elsewhere in the world.

As has been made very clear, it is not Theresa May's intention to deport anyone unless our European colleagues announce their intention to do likewise.

So, she is absolutely intending that those people who come here and do a great job in our food and farming sector continue to do that.

The other side of it is the seasonal workers. Of course, before we joined the EU we had a very good programme of seasonal workers' licences and it is not beyond the wit of man to have such a thing in future.

– Andrea Leadsom
Andrea Leadsom wants more Brits to do farm labouring and fruit picking. Credit: PA

Asked if it was possible for Britons could do the jobs instead, Mrs Leadsom, who campaigned for Britain to leave the EU, said: "Of course it is, that is a whole different issue."

She added: "We could get British people doing those jobs and that tempts me to stray into the whole issue of why wages aren't higher and so on.

"My absolute hope is that with more apprenticeships, with more young people being encouraged to engage with countryside matters, that actually the concept of a career in food production is going to be much more appealing going forward."