Boris Johnson is prepared to throw Scottish farmers and crofters “under the Brexit bus” to get a trade deal with Australia, the SNP has claimed.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford accused the Prime Minister of a “betrayal” over proposals to give Australian beef and lamb exports tariff-free access to UK in a move that could undermine domestic agriculture.
The SNP leader said: “The Government led the betrayal of Scottish fishing and now the Tories are planning to throw our farmers and crofters under the Brexit bus.”
He added: “This deal would be the final nail in the coffin for many Scottish crofters and farmers, it will end a way of life that has endured for generations Prime Minister. I know that many of the Prime Minister’s Tory colleagues privately agree with me and want him to pull back from this deal.”
An angry Blackford added: “If reports of this Tory deal are true, farmers will lose their livelihoods, rural businesses will collapse and ultimately families will be driven off the land and let’s be very clear if that happens this UK Tory Government will be solely responsible.”
“So will the Prime Minister finally listen, think again and ditch a deal that will send our farmers down under?”
But Johnson poked fun at the SNP leader’s description of himself as a “member of the crofting community” as Blackford was contributing remotely from his home on the Isle of Skye where his wife does in fact run a croft.
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Johnson drew laugher from the Tory benches as he said: “I’m delighted to see the shots of his croft by the way, a humble representative of the crofting community.”
The PM added: “I don’t think that he does justice to crofters, to farmers across the country and in Scotland as well because I think he grossly underestimates their ability to do great things with our free trade deals, to export Scottish beef around the world. Why doesn’t he believe in what the people of Scotland can do?”
“Why is he so frightened of free trade? I think there’s a massive opportunity for Scotland and for the whole of the UK and he should seize it and be proud of it.”
“Our food exports are second to none, he should be proud of that, we should be celebrating that and all he does is call for us to pull up the drawbridge and go back into the EU to be run by Brussels, that’s his manifesto and I think the people of this country have decisively rejected it.”
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