Following the Prime Minister’s defeat on her Brexit deal in the House of Commons, the presidents of four of the main UK farming unions have urged MPs to take measures to remove the possibility of leaving the EU without an agreement.

Later today MPs will vote on whether the UK should leave the EU on March 29 without a deal. As a free vote, it means MPs will not be under pressure to vote along party lines.

The motion is tabled for 2:30pm with the vote expected to take place in the evening.

If Parliament rejects a 'no-deal' exit there will be a second vote on whether the UK should seek to delay Article 50. However, this will need to be approved by the EU.

NFU president Minette Batters, NFU Cymru president John Davies, NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick and Ulster Farmers’ Union president Ivor Ferguson issued the following statement in the wake of the vote in Parliament:

The outcome of the vote means there is no realistic possibility of achieving an orderly departure from the EU on March 29. A 'no-deal' exit from the EU would be a catastrophe for British farming and food production.

“Therefore, some sort of extension of the Article 50 deadline will be necessary.

"It is critical that the Government and MPs identify a clear strategy to secure Parliament’s support for a negotiated Brexit deal between the UK and the EU and use any extension of Article 50 constructively. We cannot simply delay the prospect of no deal.

“This continued uncertainty is having real-world consequences on farming businesses – and wider British industry – already.

"It is time for MPs to consider the concessions they will need to accommodate to support a deal that finally brings to an end the enormous and damaging uncertainty that is already undermining our food and farming sectors.”