FUW backs Hilary Benn amendment to Brexit withdrawal deal

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has thrown its weight behind an amendment to the UK Government’s EU withdrawal deal motion which could prevent the devastation of a hard Brexit.

The amendment, tabled by Labour MP Hilary Benn, and signed by both Labour and Conservative MPs, was supported unanimously by FUW standing and county committee chairmen during a special meeting held on Wednesday (December 5).

Benn’s amendment declines the EU withdrawal deal put forward by the UK Government and also rejects the UK leaving the EU without some form of withdrawal agreement and framework for the future UK-EU relationship being in place.

It is being supported by Plaid Cymru, the Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats, as well as many Conservative and Labour MPs.

Speaking after the meeting, FUW president Glyn Roberts said: “Following a lengthy discussion, it was agreed unanimously that Benn’s amendment was the option which minimises the risk of the UK leaving the EU without a deal – something that would be devastating for Welsh farming and the UK as a whole.”

Benn’s amendment will be discussed in Parliament over the coming days before a final vote on the withdrawal deal on December 11.

Given that MPs from across the political spectrum are likely to reject the Government motion in support of the current withdrawal deal on the 11th, we would urge MPs to back Mr. Benn’s amendment as it minimises the dangers of a hard Brexit.

“There is a great deal of talk about the Northern Ireland backstop. Benn’s amendment is in many ways another form of backstop which would reduce the risk of us crashing out of the EU without a deal.”

Roberts said the FUW also welcomed Dominic Grieve’s amendment to the Government motion which was passed by Parliament on December 4.

“Parliament’s support for Mr. Grieve’s amendment means MPs will be able to amend the backup plan the Government must bring before Parliament if they lose the vote on December 11,” said Roberts.

Roberts said that a redressing of power to give parliament more say, given the differences of opinion within the government, was essential.

“This is not about frustrating Brexit,” he added, “It’s about minimising the risk of a devastating outcome for the UK because of political gridlock within parties and across parliament.”