South Lakes MP Tim Farron told Parliament that a “deadly combination” of tariffs and Government cuts will lead to hundreds of farmers going out of business.
He told Michael Gove: “Ninety-five per cent of Cumbrian farm exports are to the single market. So our farmers need unfettered access to that market too.
“His friend the DEFRA Secretary at the weekend said that British farmers would find tariffs with the EU, I quote, ‘unmanageable’.
“Now if you add that to the fact that, deal or no deal, in three weeks’ time English farmers will see huge uncompensated cuts in their incomes begin, we risk the loss of hundreds of family farms in the Lakes and the Dales and elsewhere.
“Does the minister agree with me that a country that cannot feed itself has no sovereignty.”
In response, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove said: “We absolutely do need to support our upland farmers, not just in his own beautiful constituency and in Cumbria but across the United Kingdom.
“It is the case that sustainable livestock farming is the only way in which we can make sure that we have agriculture in the future in upland and grassland areas such as the one that he represents.
“Yes there is a prospect of tariffs if we don’t secure a free trade agreement which is why we do need to have support systems in place for those.
“The new system of support that we are giving to farmers combines not just support for small farmers but also support for the climate change and environmental goals that we both share and I think it’s important that we do reform the Common Agricultural Policy in that way.
“I look forward to continuing to work with him because I know that his commitment to rural England and to our farmers is resolute.”