UFU comments on meaningful vote outcome

Ulster Farmers' Union president Ivor Ferguson. Picture: Cliff Donaldson
Ulster Farmers' Union president Ivor Ferguson. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has reiterated its position on Brexit following the defeat of the Withdrawal Agreement in Westminster.

Commenting from Westminster on the House of Commons vote against the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement, Ulster Farmers’ Union president Ivor Ferguson said a no-deal Brexit must be avoided.

He said: “The defeat of the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement did not come as a surprise given the public position of many MPs across all parties over the last few weeks.

“However, the scale of the defeat has sent a clear signal. Regardless of this very significant development, our position remains – a no deal Brexit must be avoided.

“The UFU respects the referendum result and that the UK will leave the EU. However, leaving with no deal would have catastrophic consequences for family farm businesses in Northern Ireland. It means high tariffs on our exports creating an effective trade embargo on export of animals and animal based products, and the possibility of lower standard imports flooding the UK market. Crippling the industry and rendering our farmers uncompetitive.

“The Prime Minister now faces a confidence vote in the House of Commons, at a time when we need our politicians focused on Brexit. The general view is that she will win and we would urge the government to move quickly thereafter.

“March 29 is fast approaching and no deal is the default outcome. It is absolutely essential that urgent progress is made to avoid this and secure an orderly exit from the EU.

“We expect lots of activity in the next few days and securing cross party parliamentary consensus on an alternative plan now appears to be a possible way forward. Indications are that the majority of MPs want to avoid a no deal scenario. This is their opportunity to deliver.”