David Cameron warns of blow to agriculture if voters back BREXIT
The Prime Minister showed off his softer side as he cuddled up to a newborn lamb after warning that British agriculture would suffer if the UK votes to leave the EU.
During a tour of a North Wales lamb and beef farm David Cameron was handed one of the two-day-old lambs by a little girl after claiming that farmers could lose as much as £330 million on lamb and beef exports alone if Britain was to withdraw from the EU.
He has warned that British farmers could “suffer enormously” if the UK votes to leave in the referendum he has called for on June 23.
Brothers Richard and David Williams who own the farm Tyfos, in Llandrillo, near Corwen, Denbighshire, showed Mr Cameron around the farm as he put agriculture at the centre of his latest appeal for voters to remain part of the 28-nation bloc.
The family moved to Tyfos over 100 years ago and the siblings are the fourth generation at the farm which extends to over 1,000 acres in the Dee Valley and Berwyn Mountains.
During the short visit Mr Cameron said “hi there” to the lamb as he was presented with it, before commenting that the Welsh livestock looked “very good” and passing it back to “safe hands”.
Later he spoke with farmers about the campaign to stay in the EU which centred around British farmers and food producers relying on the single market.
Mr Cameron said: “Farmers are faced with bureaucracy, inspections, the payment system and it’s very important we deal with those issues but there’s a bigger issue which is a market of 500 billion people who we can sell some of the best meat in the world to.”
He spoke of the consequences of leaving Europe: “You’d have to meet all their rules and you wouldn’t have any say on what they are and that doesn’t make you any more sovereign or more powerful.”
He was asked if there was a Plan B if the country was to leave.
Mr Cameron said: “Of course we have to be ready, we have just produced a document on the alternatives.”
He is due to address the Welsh Conservative conference.
Mr Cameron has pitched that more than 90% of UK lamb and beef exports – worth around £605 million – currently go to the EU.
The farming sector contributes £9.9 billion to the UK economy and employs almost half a million people.
If farmers had to rely on World Trade Organisation rules, rather than EU membership, to secure access to the market of 500 million people in Europe, they could be faced with tariffs costing £240 million a year for beef and £90 million for lamb, Mr Cameron said.