A Shadow Defra Minister has promised the Labour Party will amend the Agriculture Bill to ensure the importance of food production is reflected.
Luke Pollard, the Shadow Minister for Flooding and Coastal Communities, made the remarks during a Countryside Alliance event at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool.
Asked whether the party supported the measures set out in the Agriculture Bill, Mr Pollard said: “This is a potentially huge piece of legislation, and it misses out on something really fundamental.
“It misses out on food. This is something the 21st century needs us to focus on; not only the affordability of food issue, but the carbon intensity, the water use, all of that needs to come together.
“I think the Agriculture Bill is a start, but it is not finished yet. It looks like it has got whole sections missing, and this is where actually the parliamentary process is absolutely essential to really amend it, to put in the stuff it needs to.”
Mr Pollard also raised concerns about the possibility of ‘Henry VIII’ powers being used to ram through significant changes to agriculture and food policy without proper scrutiny.
His comments came shortly after a plot by the Trade Secretary to rewrite food standards using secondary legislation was revealed.
He said: “One of my concerns about the Agriculture Bill is the reason large amounts of it is missing is because the intention is not to put that through parliament.
“It is to use Henry VIII powers to just push them through without the requisite level of parliamentary scrutiny, nor stakeholder involvement. The rural voice will be missing.
“I do not want a Labour Government to be able to push things through without parliamentary scrutiny, and I certainly do not want a Tory Government pushing things through without parliamentary scrutiny. This has to be one of our key challenges wherever we sit on the agricultural debate.”