UFU confirms second speaker for debate

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The Ulster Farmers’ Union has revealed that former, NFU President, Sir Peter Kendall will join former DEFRA minister, Owen Paterson, to put forward the details on the Leave and Remain arguments for Northern Ireland agriculture at the UFU’s EU Referendum Debate.

The event will take place at the Eikon complex at Balmoral Park on Tuesday 7 June at 8.00pm.

The UFU committed several months ago that it would hold an open debate to help better inform local farmers and address the concerns farmers and the wider rural community have about the future for the Northern Ireland agrifood industry. UFU President Barclay Bell, pictured, has stressed that as a Union they are not advising members how to vote.

He added: “We have said that in the absence of a compelling reason to leave, we see remaining as the safer option – but from the outset we have said our 12,000 plus members and their families will make up their own minds how to vote. This debate is wider than agriculture and it is our aim, with two weeks to go before the vote, to create an opportunity for people to have their questions answered, before they finally decide how they cast their vote in what will almost certainly be a once in a generation referendum opportunity,” said Mr Bell.

The speaker for the Remain campaign will be, former NFU President, Sir Peter Kendall, who is involved in the Farmers Stronger in Britain group, which is part of the Official Stronger in campaign for the UK to remain an EU member.

The speaker for the Leave campaign will be the former, DEFRA minister, Owen Paterson, who is a long-time critic of the EU.

“We have not taken part in the selecting of the two speakers. We are facilitating an industry debate, and have asked both of the official campaigning groups to nominate speakers,” said Barclay Bell.