Jeremy Hunt’s £6bn rescue package for farmers, and his comparison of a no-deal Brexit to the 2008 crash, proves leaving the EU without a deal would be a catastrophe, says Cumbrian MP Tim Farron.
Over the past few weeks, newspaper headlines have been filled with the latest wild promises about what a post-Brexit Britain will look like from the favourite to become our country’s next Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
But it’s actually his leadership rival Jeremy Hunt who was the most revealing when he pledged to give the farming sector a £6bn rescue package to ‘mitigate the impact of a no-deal Brexit’ and ‘smooth out short-term difficulties’.
He then went on to compare the situation to when the Government decided to bail out the banks following the 2008 financial crash – the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression.
This was the most striking, and certainly the most honest, statement made by a member of the Conservative Government in many months or even years.
A sober assessment of what breaking all ties with our closest neighbour and our biggest market means: no land of milk and honey, no unicorns, but post-financial crash levels of bailout for British farming.
A far cry from the ‘don’t worry it’ll be fine all we have to do is believe in ourselves’ rhetoric we have heard so often in response to genuine concerns put forward by farmers about what a no-deal Brexit would mean for them.
So, I’d commend Jeremy Hunt for some long overdue honesty about the decision this country will take in the months that lie ahead.
I was in Brecon earlier this week campaigning in the upcoming by-election, speaking to farmers at the weekly livestock market.
The move towards a no-deal exit at the end of October and the clear and present danger this presents to their trade with the market they export the vast majority of their produce to, meant many farmers I spoke to had serious doubts over our departure from the EU.
Knowing what we now know, any Government that truly cares about the future of British farming will give farmers the final say on our future relationship with the European Union.
Tim can be found tweeting @timfarron