George Eustice grilled by host on 'suffering' UK farmers
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The BBC Today programme presenter confronted George Eustice about concerns within the British farming community about the threat liberalised trade with Australia could have on them. The British Government finalised a new free trade agreement with Canberra worth £11bn earlier this month, hailing the deal as a chance to strengthen ties with the Commonwealth nation. But Nick Robinson pointed out the farming community in the UK fear the impact of the additional competition.
Mr Robinson said: “You fought in Cabinet and you lost.
“The Prime Minister chose to go with free trade, he wanted to prove that Brexit would work.
“Farmers are very worried that the consequences of that is they are going to suffer.”
Mr Eustice dismissed the suggestion he did not agree with Mr Johnson’s strategy and insisted the necessary precautions to protect the farming community were put in place.
He said: “Well, in any Cabinet discussion, including on the mandate for trade agreements of course you have a discussion and you have a consensus.
“And the consensus here was that the Government wanted to liberalise our trade with Australia.
“What we should actually do is recognise there were sensitive sectors and therefore why we put in place that long staging for 15 years.”
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