A CUMBRIAN farmer hopes a meeting with Jeremy Corbyn will help to highlight major issues affecting agriculture.

Will Cockbain, whose family have farmed on land in Rakefoot near Keswick for the last 300 years, met with the Labour leader last week

“My reaction is if he is the leader of the opposition it is my chance to entrench into his thoughts,” said Mr Cockbain of his hopes from the meeting.

“Hopefully it will help British farming set the record straight. The UK carbon footprint of farmers is two and a half times cleaner than the world average.

“People criticising UK farming are criticising the wrong country.”

Mr Cockbain showed the Labour leader around his farm, discussing the impact of Brexit on the industry.

On the support to farmers, he added: “The government has talked about an aid package, but we have no detail on it.

“Hopefully we will get some detail, but the best thing would be to get a deal, which guarantees free access to the European market.”

Also joining Mr Corbyn on the visit were the environment advisor for the North West for the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), Adam Briggs, and the shadow Defra secretary and Workington MP, Sue Hayman.

Talking about what he discussed with Jeremy Corbyn, Mr Briggs said: “From our perspective the main issue is Brexit, particularly for a sheep farmer. A third of lambs go to the EU, so how will we access the market for those lambs?

“Labour is a huge issue, particularly in animal processing, which is reliant on access to the EU market.”

The impact of no-deal will be big, says Mr Briggs.

“A lot of other meat products come from EU companies. The government can reduce tariffs coming in, but we could face tariffs for exports. Will our farmers face unfair competition from companies with lower standards than ourselves?”

The NFU has a clear message about what they want from the Brexit process. Mr Briggs explained: “We want to see a deal that guarantees frictionless trade with the EU and protection against worse standards.”

A claim by Mr Corbyn that there could be a cull of livestock post-Brexit was dismissed by Environment Minister Theresa Villiers.

She said: “We have been very clear that when we leave the EU we will make sure that farmers get a better deal and a widespread cull of livestock is absolutely not on the cards.”

Copeland MP Trudy Harrison added: “I am passionate about farming and, as the granddaughter of a farmer, I am well aware of our county’s dependency on agriculture. I am pleased that the Government has committed to provide all the support