NPA - industry leadership more important than ever in wake of election result
9th Jun 2017 / By Alistair Driver
The uncertainty created by the shock General Election result, particularly over the direction of Brexit negotiations, will be felt within the farming sector, the NPA has warned.
The association’s chief executive Zoe Davies has stressed that the NPA will respond to the instability by continuing to argue the case for a fair deal for the pig sector – whoever is at the helm.
While the result leaves the Conservatives in pole position to form some sort of working majority, probably in coalition with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), there is still no absolute certainty about which party will lead the next Government.
Theresa May’s position also appears uncertain after her gamble to call an election to reinforce her hand in the Brexit negotiations backfired spectacularly on the back of an uninspiring campaign. She has indicated her desire to stay on to bring ‘stability’ to the situation but is facing calls to step down.
The biggest question is, of course, over Brexit, with formal negotiations due to begin in 10 days' time. There are question marks over how effective a damaged Mrs May, assuming she is still leader, can be in leading those talks for the UK and the extent to which the ‘hard Brexit’ policy mapped out by the Tories prior to the election will now have to be re-written.
There is already speculation that the outcome will put added pressure on an already tight timetable and could increase the chances of a damaging ‘no deal’ outcome at the end of two years of Article 50 talks.
From a farming perspective, another development to look out for will be who takes the reins at Defra when a new Cabinet is formed. Andrea Leadsom’s position was certainly under scrutiny prior to the vote.
Zoe said: “In an already volatile political environment, this result only adds to the uncertainty and instability surrounding the Brexit negotiations - and that could be very damaging for the farming sector.
“The industry needs clarity on Brexit as some of the big decisions to be made, for example on access to the EU market, new trade deals and the future availability of labour, will have profound implications for our sector.
“We will continue to deliver strong leadership for the pig sector and, whoever is in power, we will carry on making the case for a fair deal for the British pig industry.”
See the NPA's manifesto and 'Wall of Fame' highlighting the responses from candidates prior to the vote here