The Agriculture Bill was also brought back before the House of Commons for its Report Stage and Third Reading. This Bill implements proposals for agriculture post-Brexit and replaces the Government’s 2017-2019 Agriculture Bill which fell when Parliament was prorogued.
I welcome some of the measures in the Bill including shifting financial assistance for farmers from supporting the ownership of land to the principle of delivering public money for public benefit. This will help farmers restore and improve our natural environment. However, it crucially lacks the legal guarantee needed to protect consumers and farmers against imported food produced to lower health, animal welfare and environmental standards. The Bill also fails to include targets for the agricultural industry to reach net zero emissions. I will not support legislation that falls short on properly protecting our natural environment and climate.
I therefore voted against the Bill at both Report Stage and Third Reading. Despite opposition from the Labour Party, the Government was able to use its majority in the House of Commons to ensure it successfully passed this legislative hurdle. It will now proceed to the House of Lords where it will face further scrutiny. The Labour Party will continue to try and significantly amend the Bill so that it is fit for purpose.