Clavering-raised presenter backs popular petition to keep food standards after Brexit

PUBLISHED: 08:00 18 June 2020 | UPDATED: 09:43 19 June 2020

Jimmy Doherty. Photo: Belle PR/Nick Ilott Photography.

Jimmy Doherty. Photo: Belle PR/Nick Ilott Photography.

Nick Ilott Photography

A food petition to the Government, which has nearly one million signatures, has gained public support from a TV presenter.

NFU Essex County chair, Christy Willett. Photo: NFU,NFU Essex County chair, Christy Willett. Photo: NFU,

Jimmy Doherty has joined celebrity chef Jamie Oliver he grew up with in Clavering, to support a petition to maintain food standards in the UK after Brexit.

Mr Oliver has appealed to the prime minister through his Facebook page on June 3.

On Sunday, Mr Doherty was published by a national newspaper, saying that Britain’s safe food system is at risk.

He said the reason for Brexit was to get rid of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy – but that a trade deal with the United States could mean much lower food sovereignty. According to Jimmy, this is because the US produces food differently and would force farmers to either lower quality or go bankrupt in order to compete.

Photo: Toby Lea Photography.Photo: Toby Lea Photography.

The National Farmers Union (NFU) petition supported by the famous childhood friends has, at the time of writing, reached one million signatures.

A spokesperson for the NFU said the Agriculture Bill debate has progressed to the next stage in July, when MPs can scrutinise and change the Bill.

NFU Essex County Chair Christy Willett said: “It’s clear the public don’t want to see food on supermarket shelves, or in their restaurants or cafes, that fall below the standards British farmers adhere to.

“It’s fantastic that so many people have backed the petition. I would like to thank those who have signed, and I hope our Essex MPs will take note of this strong support when they next vote on the Agriculture Bill.

“It’s clear that people care deeply about their food, where it comes from and how it’s produced. The government must listen and respond to those concerns.”

The NFU is calling on the government to introduce a Trade and Standards Commission - an independent body that can review trade policy and ensure future food imports are held to the same standards expected of British farmers.

NFU President Minette Batters said: “People do not want to see chlorinated chicken or hormone-fed beef on their supermarket shelves and nor do they want to see food imported which has been produced in lower welfare or environmental systems than is legally allowed in this country.”

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