SOUTH Lakes MP Tim Farron is calling on Conservative backbench MPs to put country before party and vote to protect British food and farming standards.

The Agriculture Bill will again return to the Commons after the House of Lords voted this week for amendments which would require food imported into the UK to meet the same standards as food produced in this country.The Government had previously voted down similar amendments, with only 14 Conservative MPs prepared to break the party whip.

Last week Mr Farron met with local farmers and representatives from the NFU at Heaves Farm in Levens to hear their concerns about food standards being undermined in future trade deals. He said: “I’m really pleased to see the Lords stand firm in demanding the Government put British food, animal welfare and environmental standards into law.

“Conservative MPs cannot be allowed again to ignore the deafening calls from the British public to protect UK standards and blindly follow the Government into the voting lobbies – there is far too much at stake here. If we fail to protect those standards now, then there is a very serious risk of British farmers being undercut in trade deals and many of them forced to go out of business as a result.