The ‘court of public opinion’ will force the Government’s hand on standards, president of NFU Scotland Andrew McCornick has said.
Mr McCornick claimed it was already clear to see that the weight of public support for British farming was ‘driving change’ in Ministerial decisions.
Standards protection has been hitting the front pages of newspapers in recent weeks, with celebrities such as Jamie Oliver, Joe Wicks and Prue Leith all backing a Mail on Sunday campaign to ‘Save Our Family Farm’.
Research by consumer group Which? has also found 95 per cent of people want existing food production standards to be protected in trade deals, with around three-quarters believing there should be a ban on imports of low standard food.
Speaking to Farmers Guardian after MPs rejected an Agriculture Bill amendment to ban low-standard imports, Mr McCornick said: “Public opinion has got to change the Government’s way of doing things.
“The petition we were driving with the NFU had a million people speaking to Government. They have got to listen to that.
“The media is putting a lot of pressure on them, so they have to deliver on this. If we do not keep the pressure on, we will be making it easy.”
Liz Webster, organiser of the Save British Farming campaign, agreed that getting the public on side would be key to changing Government decisions, but argued demonstrating would also need to be a major focus of the lobbying strategy going forward.
“We see this as the beginning in many ways,” she said.
“It is clear what the Government’s goals are, so the fight truly begins now. It is the last chance saloon for us; it is our only choice to get out and demonstrate. Nothing is going to change unless we demonstrate to bring a change of direction.”