Mike Ottewell, Chair of Staffs4Europe (North) - 31/07/2019

PRESS RELEASE - Staffs4Europe to host a public meeting in association with Farmers Against Brexit

Farmers Against Brexit

Date: Wednesday 21 August at 7.00pm.
Venue: The Foxlowe Arts Centre, Stockwell Street, LEEK

Pro EU Campaigners and Farmers Against Brexit have come together to organise a public meeting, to review and discuss the implications of leaving the European Union on 31st October.

Guest speakers will include two MEPs for the West Midlands region: Phil Bennion (Lib Dem) who is an arable farmer from Haunton near Tamworth and Ellie Chowns (Green Party), who serves on the international trade and development committees of the European Parliament.

Phil Bennion Photo
Phil Bennion, MEP
Ellie Chowns Photo
Ellie Chowns, MEP

This will be a cross party ‘Questions and Answers’ event based on a panel of speakers representing residents who are living and working in the rural districts of Cheshire and Staffordshire.

“What many people do not appreciate is that our beautiful countryside and the future prosperity of market towns like Leek, depend very much on the farmers in this region,” explains Staffs 4 Europe chairman, Mike Ottewell. “It is inconsistent for district councils to pass climate emergency motions, whilst at the same time our government is withdrawing from EU partnerships.”

Commenting on the event, Phil Bennion MEP said:

“Farmers need as close a relationship as possible with the rest of Europe, our biggest market. With a no deal Brexit now a real possibility, our immediate concern is to keep open our export markets for our sheep meat, beef and cereals. Almost 40% of the lamb we produce is exported to the EU and the tariffs under no deal would render this trade non-viable. If we can’t sell lambs coming to market this autumn, there will be a catastrophic price crash.

“If the UK does leave the EU, then the draft Agriculture Bill drawn up by Michael Gove will probably come into force. The problem with that is that there is nothing to replace the single farm payment. Mr Gove’s proposals for environmental payments are explicitly banned under WTO rules if they cover more than direct costs.”

Ellie Chowns MEP said:

“Farmers have an absolutely crucial role to play in tackling both the climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis. We can’t do those things alone; we need to work together with our European neighbours. Leaving the EU undermines the livelihoods of farmers, threatens our food standards, and raises prices for us all. No-deal Brexit is a disaster, and nobody voted for it.”

Mike Ottewell is anticipating a lively discussion. “We acknowledge that the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy has many flaws, but one of its basic aims is to at least preserve a European rural development model based on the promotion of family farms.

“What the current Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is planning is a million miles away from that, and from anything that was promised during the referendum three years ago. And that is why the Brexit debate has now essentially come down to one question: can this government be allowed to get away with forcing the hardest version of Brexit onto the country without allowing the public any form of confirmatory vote?"


Press enquiries to:

Mike Ottewell
Cheddleton, Leek
Tel: 01538 361217
M: 07989 602480


Mike Ottewell, Chair of Staffs4Europe (North)
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