Boris Johnson has insisted that Britain’s farmers “will have the support they need” after Brexit, as the Prime Minister visited a farm in South Wales.
He also hit back at comments made by Wales’s First Minister Mark Drakeford, who claimed that a no-deal exit would be “catastrophic”.
In a visit to Shervington Farm, Newport, Mr Johnson pledged government support to prop up farmers’ incomes after the UK leaves the EU on October 31.
He said: “We’ll make sure (the farming sector) have the support they need. If their markets are going to be tricky, then we will help them to find new markets. We have interventions that are aimed to support their incomes.
“What the Government is working on now with a great deal of energy and confidence is to ensure the farming sector is totally prepared.”
Asked about Mr Drakeford’s comments, Mr Johnson reiterated that the withdrawal agreement drawn up by Theresa May was dead, and Britain would be “at the races” if the EU entered into new negotiations.
He said: “We’re not aiming for a no-deal Brexit and we don’t think that’s where we’ll end up.
“This is very much up to our friends and partners across the channel. We cannot go on with the withdrawal agreement as it currently is, everybody understand that, it’s dead.
“If the EU understands that I think we’re going to be at the races. If they can’t compromise then clearly we have to get ready for a no-deal exit.”
Mr Drakeford, who has led Welsh Labour since last year, previously urged Mr Johnson to ditch his plan to take Britain out of the EU at the end of October if he fails to secure an agreement with Brussels.
The Welsh First Minister said: “My main message to the Prime Minister remains the same: he has no public mandate for a no-deal Brexit, which would be catastrophic for Wales.
“If the UK does leave the EU, the UK government must work in close partnership with the Welsh government to mitigate negative effects on Wales and its economy.”
Responding to the Prime Minister’s commitment to the UK’s farming industry, Dorothy Fairburn, Northern Director of the Country Land and Business Association, told The Yorkshire Post: “We look forward to seeing Mr Johnson’s promises turned into reality. At the moment farmers are facing a future of uncertainty.”
Speaking at the Ryedale Show in North Yorkshire, Baroness Anne McIntosh of Pickering added: “He’s made the promises, now he’s going to have to make good where the money is coming through.”
Meanwhile, Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns has suggested new global markets will be available to sheep meat producers after Brexit.
Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about the opportunities for farmers, Mr Cairns replied: “I would point to the market in Japan that has just been opened to Welsh and British sheep for example, now that is a new market for us, so exports are already taking place there, but that is a significant market for which we haven’t even scratched the surface yet.”