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MPs vote against amendment to protect food welfare standards in trade deal negotiations

21 July 2020 by

MPs last night voted against an amendment that would have introduced additional agricultural welfare protections to the trade bill, which will provide the framework for post-Brexit trade negotiations.

A clause put forward by Labour MPs called for future deals to only allow the importing of agricultural goods produced to standards "as high as, or higher than, the standards which at the time of import applied under UK law".

These standards would have applied to animal health and welfare, protection of the environment, food safety, hygiene, traceability and plant health.

The amendment was defeated 337 votes to 251 after Conservative MPs argued it would be unnecessary as the party had already committed to maintaining standards.

Greg Hands MP also said the bill could have unintended consequences: "The Opposition think they are talking about chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef," he added.

"But are they actually able to look people in the eye and say that cocoa from the Ivory Coast has been produced to at least as high environmental standards as in the UK?"

An amendment requiring parliamentary approval of trade agreements, put forward by backbench Conservative MPs was also defeated.

The trade bill was passed by 335 votes to 243 and will now progress to the House of Lords.

Picture: Shutterstock

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