Gove: ‘Brexit won’t obstruct trade with rest of Europe’

Brexit will result in a “win win” situation for local farmers, according to a cabinet minister.

Speaking during a visit to Hadrian’s Wall on Monday, as part of the cabinet’s Great Exhibition of the North away day, Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, addressed current concerns expressed by farmers.

They include a drop in lamb prices caused by a combination of warm weather – with lack of rain seeing leaner lambs come to market – and continued uncertainty over Brexit.

Local farmers have described the situation as “horrendous” but Mr Gove said Brexit would not put obstacles in the way of trade with the rest of Europe.

“The approach the prime minister outlined at Chequers ensured there are no barriers to prevent us exporting our lamb to French markets,” he said.

“There are also no barriers to EU imports coming into this country either.

“We have to be ready for every eventuality, but I think there’s the basis that there would be a win win for Northumberland farmers and consumers across North-East England.”

Visiting Housesteads Roman Fort with Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman, Mr Gove added that he was working to tackle the problems caused by the lack of rain.

“With Guy’s help, I’m developing an approach that helps the North-East and supports local farmers and at the same time makes sure we can invest in the environment and forestry,” he said.

“We are increasingly aware that climate change brings particular problems to farmers.

“We also have to think about some of the things that we can do in the future in order to improve the environment and to join the battle against climate change.”

Mr Gove was in the area after a cabinet meeting at the Sage Gateshead, after which Conservative ministers visited institutions and businesses across the North-East.

As part of National Parks Week, Mr Gove and Mr Opperman met team members from Northumberland National Park, local upland farmers and forestry experts.

“The Northumberland National Park is a very special place,” said Mr Gove.

“It’s that way because of the farmers who look after this land, and the public servants who play a part.”