Agriculture Bill defeated at Westminster after warnings from Welsh farmers over food standards

  • ITV Wales' Valleys Correspondent Hannah Thomas spoke with Welsh farmers ahead of the vote

The Agriculture Bill - an attempt to give farmers a legal guarantee that they won't have to compete with imports from countries which have lower food standards - has been defeated at Westminster.

The vote took place at the House of Commons on Monday evening. MPs voted by a majority of 53 to overturn the House of Lords amendment which would have required agricultural and food imports to meet domestic standards.

The defeat comes after Welsh farmers said that not only could they face unfair competition, but that people would no longer be sure about the safety of the food they eat.

Farmers also told ITV News that there were fears that imported food could be hidden in pre-prepared meals.

The Agriculture Bill had sought to protect UK food standards in post-Brexit trade deals.

Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said: “We are taking time-limited powers through the UK Agriculture Bill to allow for the continued provision of existing farming support in Wales beyond 2020, and to provide Welsh farmers with much-needed stability and continuity in this period of uncertainty.

“Whilst I acknowledge UK Ministers insist they will maintain existing high standards of food safety and animal welfare, they have not yet drafted anything which would put this commitment into statute. Food safety and animal health and welfare are devolved matters, and we are clear that we want to maintain our high food safety, animal welfare and environmental standards here in Wales.

"The Welsh Government will vigorously oppose any clauses in the Internal Market Bill which would enable any Government in Westminster to start a race to the bottom for food safety and animal welfare standards.”

Colin Millichap produces Welsh mountain lamb on the Brecon Beacons

Colin Millichap produces Welsh mountain lamb on the Brecon Beacons to a strict set of animal welfare and environmental standards.

He wants it made law that any food imported into Britain after prospective trade deals is of the same quality.