Bill Esterson MP: The Government appointing a Food Supplies Minister now is a real worry

Bill Esterson MP: The Government appointing a Food Supplies Minister now is a real worry

Friday, September 28, 2018

Shadow International Trade Minister Bill Esterson has said the fact that the Government is appointing a Food Supplies Minister at this point in the negotiations “is a real worry”.

Mr Esterson, the Labour MP for Sefton Central told talkRADIO’s James Whale: “I think it is just systematic of the complete failure to prepare for Brexit generally.

“They are now talking about plans for no-deal and that really would be a disaster for this country.

“We have got to make sure that we get an agreement so that we don’t go down that road.

“Appointing this minister now is a real worry because it is very late to wake up to the threat to food security of not having a deal.

“Because if we end up with food waiting in lorries either side of the ports, if we end up with everything having to be checked.

“We haven’t got the vets to do the checks on live animals as well.”


‘The opportunities of leaving the EU’

This comes as the UK Government has appointed a food supplies minister to oversee the protection of food supplies, amid fears of a no-deal Brexit.

Conservative MP David Rutley, an ex-Asda and PepsiCo executive, was given the role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rurual Affairs earlier this month.

Mr Rutley said: “It is an honour to join the Defra ministerial team at such an important time. I am determined to ensure that we fully realise the opportunities of leaving the EU.”


‘We will have food rotting’

Border Force staff check lorry arriving at the UK border

The Shadow International Trade Minister also warned of “food rotting”.

Mr Esterson added: “They will have to check every single consignment of fresh food and every animal coming and going.

“That is just completely impossible.

“We will have food rotting. The projections are that you would have shortages of food very very quickly indeed.

“It would cause chaos for business and jobs too.”


‘This is Project Reality’

Mr Esterson responded to accusations that he was spreading ‘Project Fear’, adding “this is Project Reality”.

He said: “This is Project Reality and it is essential we avoid it.

“That is why we are pushing the Government.

“Jeremy offered an olive branch to the Prime Minister on Wednesday in his speech.

“He said if she can guarantee the protections and the rights that we are after, if she agrees to the plan for a customs union that we have been putting forward for the last 18 months, we will look at it very carefully and consider voting with her.”