Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 23 September 2019

Farmers march sheep through London in protest at no-deal Brexit

A report released on Thursday claimed no-deal could force half of all UK farms out of business

Sheep are guided through the the streets of central London during a demonstration to highlight troubles of the farming industry following Brexit. AP 
Sheep are guided through the the streets of central London during a demonstration to highlight troubles of the farming industry following Brexit. AP 

British farmers marched sheep through central London on Thursday in protest at the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.

Six sheep were herded past government buildings by farmers supporting a second referendum on the UK’s EU membership, following the release of a report, which claimed that crashing out of the bloc without a deal could force half of all farms out of business,

The report, titled No Deal: The Door To The Decimation of UK Farming, was authored by former chief economist to the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), Dr Sean Rickard.

At a press conference, Dr Rickard warned that the UK leaving without a deal on October 31 would create further uncertainty for farmers.

“We are in a state of utter trading madness if we crash out of Europe,” he said.

Dr Rickard said the higher tariffs would be imposed on exports to the EU, making British farming less competitive.

There were also warnings that after Brexit the removal of support payments as well as the introduction of further red tape to ensure compliance with EU food safety and animal health regulations could leave farming “unviable”.

According to a report, more than half of farms across Britain could struggle to survive if Britain leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019. EPA
According to a report, more than half of farms across Britain could struggle to survive if Britain leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019. EPA

The NFU has previously said that there could be a mass slaughter of sheep if the UK government raises tariffs on meats exported to the EU.

Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson, who has said he wants to do a deal with the EU but has pledged to leave “do or die” by October 31, is considering proposals to buy up excess lamb and beef, at a cost of £500 million.

Meanwhile on Thursday, opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urged cross-party MPs to install him as a caretaker prime minister in order to thwart Mr Johnson’s plans for a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Corbyn wants to call a no-confidence vote in the government and if he wins, call a general election with Labour campaigning to support a second referendum with an option to remain in the EU.

He has written to opposition parliamentarians as well as rebel MPs from the ruling Conservative Party asking for a support.

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, who is campaigning against Brexit, said she would not support Mr Corbyn, who she described as “divisive”.

But Nicola Sturgeon, who leads the third largest party in the UK parliament, the SNP, did not rule out backing the Labour leader.

"We will work with anyone and we'll explore any option to stop Brexit," Ms Sturgeon told the BBC, adding that Mr Corbyn must set out a clear position on Brexit.

Updated: August 15, 2019 05:19 PM

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