Fears over trade deals

Berwick-upon-Tweed is one of the largest agricultural constituencies in the UK.

Tuesday, 6th February 2018, 08:00 am

Like the rest of the North East, it receives far more in EU support than its taxpayers send to Brussels.

Parliamentary democracy can only function if the electorate is confident that elected MPs represent the broad interests of their constituency.

Each time the UK appears to take a step forward towards the vital trade deal with the EU, which Fox, Johnson and co promised would be straightforward, a group of MPs, a ‘party within a party’, ironically called The European Research Group, opposes the deal.

This group wants a complete break from the EU and to start trading from scratch with other countries, which instead of 22 miles are almost all thousands of miles away.

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It is not just farms and other rural businesses and jobs, but the health of our children which is at stake. The ERG is especially pinning its hopes on sacrificing British jobs, businesses and farms to Donald Trump’s America.

Wilbur Ross, his trade secretary, has made it clear that in any trade deal the US would take control by demanding the removal of our welfare and health restrictions so that it could send us not only its infamous chicken, but hormone-filled beef and pig meat laced with Ractopamine, a growth promoter banned everywhere except the US.

Broader political common sense will hopefully see an EU/UK trade deal in which 40 per cent of our lamb will continue to go to the Continent.

But this does not relieve our MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan of the responsibility of clearly explaining to the people of north Northumberland why she has allied herself with members of The European Research Group.

Aidan Harrison