We seem to hear a lot about ‘fake news’, but recently Britain’s fake news has centred around chicken – chlorinated chicken to be precise.

One can’t help but wonder whether these are the same people ideologically opposed to Brexit. The same as those that sought to force the British public to accept the status quo, through fear – and who failed in that endeavour. There is also a sinister undercurrent of anti-Americanism that some have allowed themselves to be hijacked by.

When the Prime Minister indicated this week that we are leaving the EU without a deal, the scare stories of chlorinated chicken and hormones in beef intensified.

The Agriculture Bill creates a framework for future financial support schemes - replacing EU payment schemes; champions British food by improving transparency and fairness in the supply chain from farm to fork; and invests in new technology and research to ensure our world-renowned food producers remain competitive and innovative. It is not the place to set criteria for trade deals or food standards.

We have previously voted through the EU Withdrawal Act which will transfer all existing food safety provisions, including existing import requirements, onto the EU statute book. Those same EU standards are now enshrined in UK law. This in turn protects our farmers and upholds standards on animal welfare, food standards and environmental protection.

The truth on the future of food production and consumption in Britain, is far less alarming than the scaremongers would have us believe. That is why I am supporting the Government on the Agriculture Bill.

Chicken in the UK food chain can only be cleaned with water safe for drinking (Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council).

Chlorinated chicken is not permitted in Britain.

The hormones in beef ban is contained in EU directive 2003/74/EC, now on the UK statute book.

Beef containing hormones is not permitted in Britain.

While the amendments sound entirely reasonable, they seek to create a raft of new conditions which do not exist under any existing EU or UK agreement. Conditions that our future trading partners would be unlikely to agree to, never mind be able to meet. We need also to recognise our huge export potential that would be curtailed without this agreement.

Many of these countries will not meet UK carbon emissions targets that would be forced on them for a start, and should we be mandating when they can cut their hedges?

Our trade deals ensure our supply of tea, coffee and bananas, among other things we can’t grow in sufficient numbers if at all. These imports that come from some of the world’s poorest countries - where such a dramatic raising of current standards on imports could effectively devastate some of the world’s poorest economies.

The Government has made it very clear that, through their trade negotiations, they will not compromise on Britain’s high standards on environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards. That is why earlier this year, the Trade and Agriculture Commission was set up to advise on maintaining these standards in upcoming trade deals. In addition, the Bill commits to publishing food security reports at least once every three years.

There is huge support locally in Cumbria and in Government for British farming. I will continue to champion the local produce from my constituency. I have already visited a number of farmers and food producers locally and will continue to promote the ‘BUY LOCAL’ message.