Now the UK is setting out as Global Britain to re-negotiate all our trading relationships by the end of this year. We have a chance to 'level-up' and stand firm to our principles and standards.
We can be a force for good in the world - through international trade.
However, the UK government looks set to accept unsafe or poor-quality products, and stoop to lower environmental, medical and food standards to get a quick deal. Join me in standing firm on the UK’s standards.
Keep food safe - keep food clean
The US allows meat producers to wash chicken in chlorine, a practice banned in the UK and EU since 1997. Relying on a chlorine rinse at the end of the meat production process means producers get lazy about safety and hygiene - such as dirty or crowded abattoirs. They assume it'll all come out in the 'wash'.
In the US, it is legal to farm chickens and pigs in far more cramped and uncomfortable intensive environments than in the UK, causing much more distress and harm to the animals. This is a matter of animal welfare, as well as food standards.
The WTO has accepted the EU’s refusal to allow hormone-injected beef because at least one of the hormone treatments used by the US has been judged a significant cancer risk.
I fully support supermarkets like Waitrose and Aldi who’ve pledged never to sell these substandard products. But if we let these products into the UK there’s no way of knowing where they'll end up. It’s so easy for such products to infiltrate the food supply chain - remember the horse meat scandal in 2013?
Chlorinated chicken and hormone meat will drive down the quality of meat across the board. As the cheapest option available, the most vulnerable low-income consumers will be incentivised to buy it, risking their health.
Roughly one in six Americans (around 50 million people) get sick from the food they eat every year. In the UK, the figure is around one in 28. Let’s keep it that way, let's strive for better. Let’s say no to poor hygiene. Stand with me and keep the UK free from chlorinated chicken and beef-injected hormones.
Toxic Trade: protect environmental standards
UK pesticide standards are some of the strongest in the world - but the US wants to change that. Banned pesticides proven to harm wildlife, like bee-toxic neonicotinoids, may be allowed under a US deal. British farmers will be undercut by imports produced to a poorer standard, driving down quality across the country.
Trump has waged a crusade against the environment. He has consistently rejected international efforts to avert the climate crisis - including pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord. In the USA, he has greenlit fracking, oil pipelines, logging and coal mining - all while undermining the Environmental Protection Agency.
The UK is rightly committed to green energy and high environmental standards in our agriculture. But if the Government is serious about a green recovery from COVID, and meeting the 2050 carbon neutral target, they should not be lowering environmental standards to get into bed with Trump.
Stop violence against animals
Australia still permits an inhumane process known as ‘mulesing’ in which crescent-shaped flaps of skin are cut from a lamb’s rear end – without anaesthesia – to create scar tissue that is less likely to attract blowfly infections. This process can be fatal.
According to The RSPCA Australia, up to 13.5 million Merino lambs are mulesed annually, suffering great pain and distress in the process.
We should not trade with an industry which practices animal cruelty. We should not accept Australia’s lower standards of animal welfare to secure a free trade deal. British farmers invest a lot of time and resources into caring for their animals. As a result, British farms have some of the highest welfare standards in the world.
Let’s support our farmers, and make sure this barbaric practice is not replicated in the UK. Let’s get a deal which works for farmers and upholds our standards.
Hands off, Trump! Protect our NHS
During the 2019 election, Trump said he wanted “nothing to do” with our NHS. But that’s not what the Americans are saying now. The US ambassador says Trump will insist on the NHS paying sky-high prices for medicine in any new trade deal.
US ‘Big Pharma’ is desperate to get their hands on the NHS, and open up a previously protected market. Once given access, it’s only a matter of time before parts of the NHS are privatised and Americanised. Prescription prices will rise, free and equal access to quality healthcare will decline, and we will be on our way to an American-style healthcare system. Do we want to start driving the sick into crippling debt, and charging patients thousands of pounds to be resuscitated?
According to Best for Britain’s extensive MRP polling, 81% of those who voted Conservative in last year’s General Election believe that agreeing a trade deal with the US President presents a risk to the NHS, with more than a third saying there is a “significant” or “severe” risk. Even Johnson’s own voters don’t trust Trump with the NHS. Is this how we should repay hard-working heroes who risked their lives to battle COVID? By carving up and selling off the NHS to Trump?
In the UK, and Europe, healthcare is a right. We measure lives saved, not profits made. That’s why I’m calling on the Government to keep their promise and protect the NHS from Trump.