NFU president Meurig Raymond used his speech at the opening of Cereals 2017 to push for a ‘softer’ Brexit with cross-party support in parliament.
He claimed the Conservatives’ poor performance in the general election last week showed the Prime Minister did not have a mandate to pursue a Brexit which puts the UK outside the single market and customs union.
He said: “It is time for the UK Government to take a much more collaborative and consensual approach to Brexit. In my opinion, that is the only way forward.
“The Prime Minister needs to ask herself whether the General Election gave her the mandate for the Brexit she sought. I would suggest it did not.
“The Government must now work with a wide constituency of parties to get the best outcome for the UK. That means working with other parties in parliament and taking into account a wide range of views.
“It also means taking a more conciliatory approach to talks with the EU itself. Ministers must work with industry and civil society, drawing on the wide range of expertise which resides outside Westminster and Whitehall.”
Mr Raymond later claimed the NFU’s top priority was now keeping the UK in the customs union – something which had previously been ruled out by Theresa May.
This is likely to be politically difficult because it would mean the UK would not have the freedom to negotiate its own trade deals with the rest of the world – instead it would have to apply the EU’s common external tariff.