NSA welcomes calls for further Brexit assurance

The National Sheep Association (NSA) has welcomed the decision to appoint Dominic Raab as the new Secretary of State for the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU).

This means that Michael Gove remains unmoved from his position heading up the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

NSA said that Mr. Gove must work closely with Mr. Raab to highlight the importance of agriculture and the focus that must be put on it in Brexit negotiations to protect British farming.

This is in line with the agreement made by Cabinet on Friday past, which seemingly values British agricultural interests highly, and which Mr. Gove came out in support of over the weekend.

Phil Stocker, NSA chief executive, said: “It would appear Mr. Gove is currently supporting a view that we, and many others, have said is best for the UK sheep industry – free and frictionless trade with the EU even it means accepting a closer relationship than some would like.

Friday’s Cabinet agreements will not please everyone but, with just eight months to go before we leave, pragmatism is setting in and I hope the new Brexit Secretary will support this position too.”

Following David Davies’ resignation late on Sunday night, there was some speculation as to whether Gove would be in line for the job.

NSA reiterates its position that Gove must stay where he is for the foreseeable future, regardless of any other resignations or reshuffles, to ensure consistency through the difficult EU withdrawal negotiation period.

Stocker said: “Farming and the environment need stability at this stage, and they will be key industry and public interest areas as we go through future changes that will need special consideration rather than fit into the standard mould.”

NSA look forward to the release of the Government White Paper on this subject, as the details of the proposal will be vital in securing the best route forward.