In a turn of events which is set to leave farmers facing yet more uncertainty, the Conservatives have failed to win a majority of seats in the House of Commons and rumours are swirling about a new leadership race.
It is thought the Conservative Party will now seek to form a minority Government propped up by the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which shares similar views on Brexit.
Labour, who have defied all expectations under Jeremy Corbyn, are predicted to win 262 seats. Although a spectacular performance, it does not appear Mr Corbyn has enough support to form a Government.
Shane Brennan, director of external affairs at the CLA said: “Straight away we are into the question of what happens with the Brexit negotiations which are due to start in 10 days’ time.
“We need to pause and reflect on what happens next, that is the only sensible course. We do not need any more alarm, we need to sit down and think the implications through calmly and collaboratively.
“The personality side is going to sort itself out, but we need some clarity on the Brexit negotiations and the Article 50 timeline in short order. That is the biggest thing for all farmers waking up this morning and wondering what will happen to their businesses.”
Simon Gooderham, joint managing partner at Cheffins auctioneering said: “As the political landscape for the UK continues to be unclear, it is essential that the government works together to support farming which is the lifeblood of rural economies.
“Farmers need security when it comes to farm support payments and trade deals with other countries. All of the main parties have pledged to secure trade deals across the EU and other countries, but the exact detail of these needs to scrutinised and they need to ensure that these will be of a profitable nature for the UK’s farmers and not allow uncontrolled import of cheap food and produce which would then undercut our own industry.
“Proper engagement with key industry bodies such as the Country Landowners and Business Association and the National Farmers Union will be paramount to ensure that the government has a clear understanding of the issues affecting food and farming so that we secure the best possible Brexit deal for our industry.
“We will be continuing to encourage farmers to look into diversification schemes, secure alternative investment streams and review opportunities for land and buildings as the political landscape remains unclear.”
NFU president Meurig Raymond said the union has a good relationship with all parties and is committed to working with whoever forms the new Government to ensure they understand the value and importance of British food and farming.
“The NFU will be seeking early meetings with Ministers”, he added.
“It is important for our industry to have clarity and see certainty from a functioning administration as soon as possible.
“If the formal Brexit negotiations begin as planned on June 19, we will continue to push for the right post-Brexit trade deal, regulatory framework, a domestic agricultural policy suited to Britain and access to a competent, reliable workforce.
“We are also calling on the new government to support British farming through a number of other measures, including a commitment to continue with the 25-year TB Eradication strategy, ensuring regulation is based on robust scientific evidence, and tackling the increasing problems of rural crime.
“The government should be proud to promote British food at home and abroad and champion British food and farming through its public procurement policy.”
CLA President Ross Murray said: “This result adds further uncertainty to a period of significant upheaval. The CLA’s top priority is the interests of the tens of thousands of farmers and other rural business owners that are getting on with their jobs today, while politicians manoeuvre and negotiate.
“We are ready to work with the new Government to influence the big decisions that will shape the rural economy and rural communities.
“Immediate attention will inevitably be on the implications of this result for securing a Brexit deal that will work in the long-term interests of agriculture and the wider economy. We remain confident that the right deal can be done.
“However, the priorities extend well beyond Brexit. Our leaders have responsibility to work together to provide rural businesses the economic stability and confidence to grow and create jobs, as well as build the homes and infrastructure that rural communities need.
“Achieving positive outcomes on these issues remains the CLA’s single minded focus and we will work with all sides in this parliament to achieve these things.
“Today is a time for calm heads and careful consideration of immediate questions, especially the timetable for Brexit negotiations. We are ready to work for our members whatever developments there are in coming days.”
NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said the election result had left the UK in an uncertain place with no immediate clarity on the road ahead.
“NFU Scotland is crystal clear that Brexit is the biggest challenge facing agriculture”, he added.
“Our members want to know what will happen now with the proposed Great Repeal Bill, the timescale on Brexit talks and where commitments given by all the parties during the election on policies to support food and farming now sit.
“Clarity on the formation and direction of the next Government must come quickly as the intention was to kick-start Brexit negotiations in Europe in 10 days’ time. That said, the European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has already used social media this morning to suggest that he will not begin negotiations until ‘the UK is ready’.
“It is vital that, whatever the shape of the new administration, or the timing on negotiations starting, the industry is given a clear and early signal that its priorities around trade, labour, future policy and support will be recognised.”
Credit to: https://www.fginsight.com/news/farmers-face-more-uncertainty-as-conservatives-humiliated-at-the-polls-21869