CLA reacts to 2019 Conservative majority

13 December 2019

Boris Johnson

Responding to the General Election result, Country Land and Business Association President Mark Bridgeman said:

“Many will breathe a sigh of relief that this result at least brings a degree of political certainty.  But for all the claims of ‘getting Brexit done’ the idea that Brexit ends on 31 January is wrong.

“Assuming we leave the EU next month, we will have less than a year to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement with Europe or else once again No Deal is back on the table.  This timeframe is hugely optimistic.

“Never forget though the extent to which European agriculture needs a deal with the UK – the EU runs a £20bn agriculture trade surplus with the UK, and a traded goods surplus of almost £100bn. The idea that the EU can shrug off a dramatically reduced trade relationship with the UK is naïve.  With a stable government in place, at least the Prime Minister can negotiate with a greater degree of strength than before the election.

“We will do what we can to help Government negotiate comprehensive agreements not just with the EU but across the world.  But Government needs to earn the trust of rural communities by guaranteeing that UK farmers will not be undercut by cheap imports produced to lower standards."