NI farmers will not be sidelined - MP

David Simpson.
David Simpson.

Following comments from the NFU that UK farmers were at risk of being excluded from Brexit talks, Upper Bann MP and DEFRA Committee Member David Simpson has assured local farmers that they will be to the core of future negotiations.

Mr Simpson said the NFU Deputy President this week described UK farmers as potentially being sidelined and a ‘pawn in bilateral trade negotiations’.

He commented: “I can assure farmers in this region of the UK that this is certainly not the case. I will be writing to the Deputy President directly to voice my concern at certain elements of her speech and to make her aware of the prioritisation that we in Northern Ireland are giving to the views of those working within the industry. During a meeting I had with the Mrs Andrea Leadsom she stated that there would be a wide consultation with representatives of the industry.

“In recent weeks my DUP colleague and DAERA Minister, Michelle McIlveen committed to 70% advancement in direct payments. This justifies Northern Ireland’s commitments to our farmers. Some may now argue that agriculture is higher in the priority of the Northern Ireland Executive in comparison to Governments in the rest of the UK,” added Mr Simpson.

“I look forward to meeting representatives of the industry in the months ahead to push the case for an invaluable post-brexit deal for our farmers. Farming is the backbone of our economic vision and we will continue to enhance the opportunities available for those working at the heart of the agri-food sector.”