12 October 2020, 08:26 AM
  • Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s chief adviser, has told MPs not to accept amends made by the House of Lords, according to reports
MPs advised to reject tougher food standards as Agriculture Bill heads to the Commons

The Agriculture Bill headed back to the House of Commons today for crunch talks on the UK’s food standards, and according to reports, MPs have been instructed by the prime minister’s chief adviser to reject calls for tougher requirements for future trade deals.

The House of Lords recently backed an amendment to the Agriculture Bill that requires food products imported to the UK as part of future trade deals to meet or exceed Britain’s own standards.

However, The Times reported that Dominic Cummings has advised ministers not to accept the amends. The report said that MPs were also told to reject plans to set up a permanent and independent trade and agriculture commission to examine trade deals before they could be signed.

Campaigners have been outspoken about the bill, with a group of celebrities and chefs, including Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Countryfile presenter Anita Rani and lifestyle coach Joe Wicks, urging the government not to “open up the floodgates to low-quality food imports”.

The European Council has also warned that the UK farmers will face “unfair, cut-throat competition” from around the world if regulatory standards are lowered after Brexit.

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