General Election Wall of Fame reminder
8th Jun 2017 / By Alistair Driver
We have received some very positive responses to our manifesto calls for Parliamentary candidates to back a 'Fair Deal for British Pig Farmers'.
We sent a copy of our manifesto, which identifies policy priorities across five key areas - post-Brexit trade, labour, support, regulation and pig health and welfare - to candidates for the June 8 General Election and to NPA members for them to make the case directly.
The main theme of the manifesto, which can be viewed here, is a call for 'a fair and balanced
deal for British pig farmers', as the next Government negotiates the UK's future outside of the EU.
The responses we have had so far are summarised below. We will update our 'Wall of Fame' as they keep coming in (most recent first):
Chris Bramall, Liberal Democrat, Stourbridge
This has really instructed me about the perils facing the pig industry - and potentially other agricultural sectors also - from Brexit.
I am grateful to you for giving me this insight into the problems your members may face, and which certainly need to be addressed, both for the sake of your members and their employees, and for the sake of welfare and environmental standards, which must not be compromised.
Frank Little, Welsh Liberal Democrat, Neath
Thank you for your email of the 23rd and the link to your manifesto. I certainly support fair treatment for the pig industry and insofar as the matters are not devolved I would pursue this in Westminster.
Wes Hinckes, Labour, Bridgwater and West Somerset
Thank you for sending your manifesto over to me. The NPA manifesto is well thought out, prudent and forward looking.
I am much better informed and even more supportive after reading it.
Dehenna Davison, Conservative, Sedgefeild
Thank you for your email, and for sending on your manifesto, which I was interested to read.
Aside from the fact my partner absolutely adores pigs(!), with a large farming community in Sedgefield, I certainly am backing a fair deal for the pig industry, as I am for the whole farming industry. This is why I invited David Davis to the constituency several weeks ago to give his assurances that farmers would be properly represented in the Brexit negotiations, and I will certainly be fighting to ensure that is the case if I am elected on June 8th
Bally Singh, Labour, Southam and Kenilworth
I fully support your aims in getting a fair deal for British Pig producers. Good Luck with your campaign.
Helen Flynn, Liberal Democrat, Harrogate & Knaresborough
I am very happy to back this manifesto. I am slightly unusual I think for a PPC in that I run a smallholding (as a hobby in my spare time with my husband) and we raise our own pork! We have three sows and a boar—pic of me with a saddleback weaner attached!
I shall tweet my support, but let me know if I can help in any way.
Ron Tindall, Liberal Democrat, Rayleigh and Wickford
Thank you for your email on a subject of which I have limited knowledge.
If elected, I will certainly be pleased to meet with you to discuss the issues of concern to your industry.
Julia Cambridge, Liberal Democrat, South Holland and the Deepings
Thank you for contacting me regarding my views about the importance of British pig producers and the post-Brexit future for this industry. Thank you as well for the copy of the NPA manifesto, and the NPA poster which I will be pleased to display in our HQ.
We cannot speak honestly about the future of farming in the UK unless we talk about Brexit as well. The Liberal Democrats acknowledge the result of the Brexit referendum, and we are committed to fighting for the best result for Britain in the negotiations to leave the EU. We oppose the Conservatives in their march towards a hard Brexit, and we believe the wording of the referendum bestows no mandate whatsoever on Teresa May to remove the UK from the customs union, abandon the single market or end freedom of movement. We believe these three events, among others pursued by the Conservatives, would be devastating for UK farming.
As Liberal Democrats we are fighting to keep Britain as close as possible to Europe – the ‘soft’ Brexit. As it pertains to UK agriculture, we believe that leaving Europe places the future of British farming under a grave threat. We contend that a hard and contentious Brexit stunts our ability to negotiate favourable trade agreements with the EU post-Brexit, making tariff-free trade with the EU all the more unlikely.
Furthermore, a hard Brexit would cause considerable harm to farming supply chains. By losing access to the free flow of labour between the UK and EU, which is all but certain if free movement is curtailed, farms will struggle to access non-seasonal labour. If elected I, along with the other Liberal Democrats in Parliament, will pressure Government to clarify the law surrounding migration at the earliest possible event, and drive the Immigration Bill as a matter of the highest priority.
In addition to concerns regarding Brexit, the Liberal Democrats have a number of other policies towards agriculture we believe will ensure a strong and resilient farming industry for years to come:
- Ensuring the next generation of farmers by promoting different types of ownership such as share farming, community ownership and longer tenancies;
- Strengthening the Groceries Code Adjudicator and giving it oversight over business higher up the supply chain, so that farmers receive a fairer price;
- Promoting smaller farms and delivering a more localised agricultural policy;
- Seeing to it that the EU laws that governed safety, environmental and animal welfare standards for imports are not discarded post-Brexit but are replaced or preserved;
- Developing safe, effective, humane and evidence-based ways of controlling bovine TB, including by investing to produce workable vaccines; and
- Continuing our ages-old campaign to reform agriculture subsidies, including making sure farm subsidies that had come from the EU do not disappear, and refocusing support towards the public benefits that arise from wise land management.
I hope that this reply will confirm in your minds (and hearts) that a strong Liberal Democrat presence in Parliament will be of supreme benefit to British farming. We will fight for British farmers, their employees and their families in Parliament, and their interests are at the very core of our programme.
Gerald Vernon-Jackson Lib Dems, Portsmouth South
Many thanks for this. I think the possibility of a free trade deal including agricultural products with the US would be a big threat to our agriculture and also to animal welfare.
Stephen Crosher - Lib Dems, Holborn & St Pancreas
I suspect that the rural economy and farmers will be skewered and sacrificed in the name of new trade deals with the US, India, China and elsewhere. I believe that in both the long term and short term leaving the EU will be bad for your industry. Though as said before I believe that the rural economy will be sacrificed by a Tory government in the pursuit of rapid trade deals with anyone and everyone. If high standards are a barrier to a trade deal I fear this government will tear up the standards to make the deal.
Supporting your industry and many others will be essential, many industries including yours, are going to face dropping revenues, declining markets, higher costs, less ability to invest … the list of problems is long. It is why leaving the EU is such a bad idea.
Clearly a strategy of support for yours and many industries will be required. However I fear that as we exit the EU the availability of money to support your industry and many other will disappear.”
Neil Fairlam - Conservative, Dwyfor Meirionnydd
“Thank-you very much. Pigs are my favourite animal and my sister has splendid Berkshires on her farm. Happy to support you.”
Chris Wilford - Conservative, Poplar and Limehouse
(I) know how important the industry is. I will read carefully to help back our pigs.
I am also very keen to educate inner city kids about pigs and food supply in general. It is critical everyone appreciates the important issues at hand. Do you undertake such initiatives?”
Stephen Priestley - UKIP - Folkestone and Hythe Constituency
I am very much a 'hands-on' type parliamentary candidate, that wants to support people and businesses to the hilt, especially to ensure that Brexit culminates in ultimately benefitting the UK, both at home, and in relation to its long history of maintaining a positive position in the world.
You have my full and unequivocal support.”
Peter Smith - Labour, SW Norfolk
“I agree with most of this manifesto, though I do wish that a number of pig farmers in this region had given some thought to the labour and subsidy implications before they gave their very visible support to UKIP! That aside, your manifesto is pretty vague about animal welfare. If all pigs were reared genuinely free-range, like for example Blythburgh pigs, I would be fully supportive, but I cannot support the rearing of pigs, or any other animal for that matter, entirely indoors.
I would add that I am fully supportive of the Compassion in World Farming Charter, and I receive a very large number of emails from voters who feel the same.It would be good if your organisation signed up to that charter too.”
Following a response from NPA chief executive Zoe Davies (based partly on her experience on both indoor and outdoor units), pointing out why the stigma attached to indoor units was unjustified and why the single most important factor to ensure high pig welfare is the quality of the staff, he added:
Thank you for your reply. You have given me lots of food for thought! I will obviously have to work harder to improve my knowledge of the industry.
One of the joys of being a parliamentary candidate - and it is my third time - is that you learn so much and meet people in so many walks of life you would never otherwise meet or communicate with.
Jeremy Lefroy - Conservative, Stafford
“Thank you very much for this manifesto which is very helpful. I will certainly, if re-elected, do my best to support the pig industry in Parliament.”
Lucy Care - Lib Dems, Derby North
“I'm in a city constituency, without lots of pigs, but I appreciate the issues you raise. One of my reasons for long term support for the European Union and the Single Market is to ensure a level playing field for business, and it also enables standards to be raised.”
Nigel de Gruchy - Labour, Orpington
Thank you very much for your communication.
Congratulations on producing a very helpful, informative and well balanced case for the pig producing industry.
It seems to me that you have presented your case in an objective way which caters for a wide range of outcomes of the post-referendum negotiations between the UK and the EU.
At the risk of being political, I must observe that in my view the arguments you put forward add up to favouring a soft Brexit. The Labour Party supports such an approach. My personal view is that achieving the laudable aims you set out would have been better served by remaining in the EU.
Councillor Charlie Dewhirst - Conservative, Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush
Many thanks for sending this to me. Obviously, should I win, you will have my full support!