SKIPTON AND RIPON MP Julian Smith has welcomed the government’s decision to put into law a system that means each new free trade deal will be scrutinised by parliament for its impact on animal welfare and British farming before it is ratified.

Mr Smith says by agreeing on Monday to place the Trade and Agriculture Commission ‘on a full statutory footing’, the government has emphasised its clear commitment that all future trade agreements will uphold the country’s high animal welfare standards, providing a stronger platform for British farmers and growers to engage in UK trade policy.

He says he is ‘encouraged’ by these steps, which demonstrate that the government shares his determination to ensure all future trade agreements will deliver benefits for regional farmers and food producers.

The new agreement will ensure all animal products imported into the UK under existing or future free trade deals from all trading partners will have to meet stringent food safety standards. These standards, he says, have been built up over many years and have the trust of the public on an international scale.

He said: “I recognise the importance of the UK’s high standards of food production, and the unique selling point it provides for local farmers, whose high-quality produce is in demand around the world. I will continue to represent the concerns of my constituents regarding future agriculture policy.”