The Labour Party is reported to be demanding changes to the Agriculture Bill in the cross-party talks aimed at reaching a compromise on Brexit.
The Prime Minister launched discussions with the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, before the Easter break, in the hope of getting her controversial deal through Parliament and avoiding European elections.
The Labour Party is pushing for acceptance of a permanent customs union as the price for its support of the Withdrawal Agreement, but food and farming could also be a key battleground.
According to the Huffington Post, a Labour source said the cross-party talks had ‘laid bare’ the need for legislation such as the Agriculture Bill to be changed.
Shadow Defra Secretary Sue Hayman told Farmers Guardian she was not able to comment on the detail of the party’s demands, but added: “We are discussing the environment and agri-food.
“The customs union and single market alignment are part of the broad discussions we are having with the Government, and that cuts across all areas.”
Mr Corbyn has previously written to the Prime Minister to make clear Labour would push for UK and EU standards, which are part of single market law, to remain aligned after Brexit. It is possible that such alignment could include food standards.
This kind of single market alignment could help keep the Irish border ‘soft’ after Brexit, though it is not yet clear what say the UK would have over the adoption of new EU rules.
It would also be more difficult for a future UK Government to sign free trade agreements with other countries such as the USA if it were to maintain EU standards.
Ms Hayman and her counterpart on the Government benches, Michael Gove, will be holding a series of one-on-one discussions as part of the cross-party talks ‘very soon’.