CUMBRIAN MP Tim Farron has accused the Conservatives of undermining British farmers after they yet again failed to back an amendment to the Agriculture Bill to protect British food and farming standards.

Conservative MPs voted down Amendment 16B, added to the Bill in the House of Lords, which would have forced the UK Government to ensure that British food and animal welfare standards are maintained in any trade deals.

However on this occasion, six rebel Conservative MPs voted against the government and backed British farming, including Dr Neil Hudson, Penrith and The Border MP.

The Liberal Democrats argue that the Government’s actions risk seeing the UK flooded with poor quality food if Ministers “slash standards in a bid to secure new trade deals.”

According to the National Farmers Union (NFU), over a million people have also signed their petition calling for the UK Government to put laws in place that prevent imports of food that is produced in ways that are illegal here in the UK.

Mr Farron said: “The Conservatives promised to protect British farmers, but their reckless action yesterday means they have yet again betrayed that promise.We now risk seeing food that is currently illegal in the UK - like hormone treated beef and fruit and vegetables produced using banned pesticide - make it onto our supermarket shelves, as the Government will be free to slash standards in a bid to secure new trade deals.

“But it doesn’t need to be this way. Unlike the Conservatives, we back British farming.We want the Government to work in partnership with UK farmers to protect our world-class food and animal welfare standards, cut greenhouse gas emissions and support the recovery of our natural environment.

Other MPs who voted against the government were:Tracey Crouch, George Freeman, Sir Roger Gale, Simon Hoare, and Jason McCartney.Twenty-four Conservative MPs abstained from the vote, including prime minister Boris Johnson, chancellor Rishi Sunak and former PM Theresa May. Separately, MPs voted in favour of a government amendment to the bill which will increase parliamentary scrutiny of future trade deals by the Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC). Peers will consider the amendments proposed by the Commons.