Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, signalled her strong support for genetically modified crops at NFU Scotland’s conference, saying her party would ‘absolutely support’ their use.
In 2015, the Scottish Government banned the growth of GM crops and requested Scotland be excluded from any EU consents for their cultivation.
The move was panned by NFU Scotland’s chief executive Scott Walker, who said the crops could have a role in shaping sustainable agriculture and protecting the environment.
The SNP’s former chief science adviser, Professor Muffy Calder, also criticised the Government for basing its decision on economics, rather than scientific considerations.
Ms Davidson said: “If the sign says it is OK, then yes, I support GM. The ban on GM was not based on science. We want to make sure there is no problem of contamination, but as long as it is safe within the food supply chain, absolutely we would support that.”
Ms Davidson’s strong support will add to suspicions the UK Government could open Britain up to GM once outside the EU.
In recent weeks, Defra has approved a field trial for GM wheat and the UK voted in favour of licensing two new varieties of GM maize for cultivation in the EU.
Ms Davidson’s comments were met with fierce resistance on Twitter, with one user suggesting there would be a ‘race to the bottom in a globally commoditised food market’ if they were used in Scotland.