The Defra Secretary encouraged farmers to be clear-sighted about what a ‘no-deal’ involved, suggesting Theresa May’s proposal ‘offers us absolutely the best opportunity’.
If we secure the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal then the economic future of the UK will be significantly stronger than if we leave without a deal.
This was according to Defra Secretary Michael Gove at the CLA Rural Business conference on Thursday (November 29) in which he told delegates leaving the European Union without a deal would, in the short term, be ‘extremely challenging’.
He encouraged farmers and landowners to be clear-sighted about what a ‘no-deal’ involved, suggesting Theresa May’s proposal ‘offers us absolutely the best opportunity’.
Mr Gove said: “Let’s imagine you are another European country – say Italy – and you were offered this deal.
“What would you get? You would get totally tariff and quota free access to the rest of the European market; you would be able to design your own method of agricultural support without the commissioner dictating it.
“You would have control of all your territorial waters and you would be able to decide which other countries came in, and you would be out of immigration policy so you can decide who comes here and on what terms.
“And you do not pay a penny of it. If I was an Italian politician, I would say I want that deal.”
The Secretary of State went on to suggest that if the backstop came in, ‘we would want to get out as quickly as possible’.
And whilst Mrs May’s deal is not perfect, it would bring all sorts of potential benefits to those in food production and in the rural economy.
Mr Gove urged delegates that if they agreed with him, to have a word with their local MP. He would be, in his own words, ‘personally very grateful’.
“If you do agree,” Mr Gove said, “Please do have a word with your friendly neighbourhood MP and do encourage them that whatever their other feelings, to support the Prime Minister because if nothing else, tell them that I will personally be very grateful.”