Jeremy Corbyn warns no-deal Brexit risks 'carnage' for UK farms who 'may have to cull millions of animals'

Posted On: 
22nd August 2019

UK farms face "carnage" in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn has warned.

Farmers have warned of a huge risk to the industry from a no-deal Brexit
Credit: 
PA

The Labour leader vowed to do "anything necessary" to halt a no-deal exit after farmers said they could be forced to cull millions of animals to prevent them dying of starvation.

It comes after the National Farming Union (NFU) warned sheep farmers could be hit with a 46% tarrif on lamb if the UK exits the EU without an agreement in place.

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And they said farmers would effectively face a "trade embargo" on the export of meat, eggs and dairy to EU member states with a new 27% tariff on the export of chicken meat and a further 65% on beef.

Speaking ahead of a visit to a farm in the Lake District, Mr Corbyn said: "The needless, forced slaughter of millions of sheep is the perfect metaphor for a No Deal Brexit.

"The damage to our farming industry of such a reckless and unnecessary act is symbolic of Boris Johnson's approach to Brexit.

"There is no mandate for this No Deal carnage, which we will do everything necessary to stop."

The warning comes after the Labour leader invited the key figures from opposition parties and senior Tory rebels to meet with him to discuss "tactics" aimed at stopping a "constitutional and political storm".

Proposing a meeting for next Tuesday, Mr Corbyn said he wanted to discuss "all tactics available to prevent" Britain leaving the EU without a deal.

Last week, former NFU chief economist Dr Sean Rickard warned 50% of British farms could be put out of business by the mid-2020s in the event of a hard exit.

In a report for pro-Remain group Farmers for a People's Vote, the agriculture expert said the introduction of new tariffs and non-tariff barriers combined with a government pledge to lower tariffs on third country imports would create "utter trading madness" for British farmers.

Shadow environment secretary Sue Hayman, said: "British farming is the bedrock of the food and drink industry - Britain's largest manufacturing sector, bigger than the aerospace and car industries combined.

"Not only do thousands of jobs in the supply chain depend on British farming, but farmers play a crucial role in environmental and land stewardship."

She added: "A no-deal Brexit risks the future of our countryside as well as our nation's food and security. Now is the time to fight to save our farms from being undercut and sold down the river by this Conservative government."

Responding to the comments, Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers, said: "We have already been very clear that when we leave the EU on the 31st October we will make sure that farmers get a better deal and a widespread cull of livestock is absolutely not on the cards.

"When we leave the EU we will maintain the same funding for farm support until the end of this Parliament and we will look to provide additional support where necessary in relation to EU exit. We will make sure that Brexit works for farmers across the country."