NFU president Minette Batters has hit out at the state of the Brexit debate in parliament, saying she does not believe there is ‘any trade literacy at all’ among MPs.
Ms Batters made the remarks at a London Brexit conference jointly hosted by the NFU and a range of other European farming groups last week (October 25).
She told the audience how she had asked Defra Secretary Michael Gove when the ‘face slapping moment’ for politicians was going to come.
It was her strongest criticism yet of the way the Brexit process is being handled.
She said: “Our biggest frustration is the inertia and, if I am honest, the continual fudging.
“You listen to Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) and you wonder whether these people have a clue that we are running businesses and we are planning for the long-term.
“I have just finished autumn calving; I am putting the ram out with the ewes. Do they realise? Do they care? I am not sure.
“Where is the conversation happening? Is it happening behind closed doors, because when you listen to PMQs, you honestly would not think there was any trade literacy across parliament at all.”
Mr Batters went on to say although a no-deal Brexit would be ‘catastrophic’, she would have preferred the Prime Minister to come back from the recent Brexit summit in Brussels with this as the primary option in order to give businesses some time to prepare.
“We cannot go into next year not knowing,” she said.
“We absolutely have to know what we are going into, we have to allow businesses to prepare.
“It is unbearable and unthinkable to keep having this fudge situation where we slip further and further.
“I fear the worst if [politicians remain] locked in a room at the end of January. It would be heartbreaking and a political injustice if they allow it to go that far.”