THE chairman of Northumberland NFU has criticised two of the county’s MPs after they supported the Government’s Agriculture Bill.

Simon Bainbridge, who farms suckler cows, breeding ewes and free range layers at Donkin Rigg in Cambo, said he was disappointed Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman and Berwick’s MP Anne Marie Trevelyan had failed to support their constituents.

Last week, Mr Opperman said the bill, which will govern farming in the UK after Brexit, was a “landmark, once in a generation piece of legislation” that would reward farmers in the district.

However, the defeat of an amendment, tabled by Devon MP Neil Parish, which would have protected farmers from lower standard food imports, has caused widespread anger in the farming community. Mr Bainbridge feared that the legislation could mean UK farmers were undercut by US farmers working to lower food standards.

He said: “The big concern is we, as farmers, all farm to a high standard.

“In the US there’s very large farms with very high stocking rates and they have to use chlorination of chicken, hormone injections in beef, and a lot of antibiotics. It’s not a level playing field, it’s just not fair.

“We will be farming to these high standards, and their cost of production will be much lower. It’s massively concerning.”

Mr Bainbridge’s concerns have been echoed by former environment secretary Theresa Villiers, who warned British farmers could go out of business as a consequence of a trade deal with the US.

And Mr Bainbridge believes that a deal could have a huge impact on rural Northumberland.

He continued: “We’re England’s most rural county. It will have a massive impact on rural Northumberland.

“It’s really disappointing that neither Guy Opperman nor Anne Marie Trevelyan supported us last week.

“It’s really worrying that they didn’t and it’s really sad given the nature of Northumberland.

“Farming dominates the rural economy. It’s linked to tourism, people come to look at the views and the landscapes and it’s been moulded by livestock farming.”

Mr Opperman has been contacted for comment.