EU Debate at Royal Bath and West Show

Neil took part in debate with colleague Jacob Rees-Mogg MP on Britain's membership of the EU on the opening day of the Royal Bath and West Show. 

Neil was arguing for remaining in the EU while Jacob was calling for a leave vote. In the debate, Neil said the EU guaranteed annual subsidies to farmers and that these payment levels would not be the same if Britain left the EU. Neil said: 

"If you want to vote to come out that's entirely your own decision, but I would suggest to you be pretty certain that you can manage in the end without the Single Farm Payment. My Brexit friends will give all sorts of great assurances that the Single Farm Payment will remain. It may for a little while but I suspect when defence, education and the health service demands it from public spending rounds I expect that's where most of the Single Farm Payment will go.

He added: “In the end you have got to decide within you and within your gut exactly what you believe to be right for agriculture.”

"What I am not going to say to you is that if you vote to come out of Europe that the sun's not going to shine, it's not going to rain and the grass is not going to be green. But I do actually believe that if you want to see farming prosper, if you want to build the farming economy through these very difficult times, then take that payment from Europe because it's ring-fenced, you know where it's coming from and it cannot be interfered with.”

"What worries me most of all is that if we come out of Europe we will have the environmental regulation and we have very little support from our government. And yet we will still be taking a great deal of food from across the water which will actually have been supported in some shape or form.”

"I can assure you, whatever the rights or wrongs of Europe, because there are so many countries dedicated to agriculture there will be support payments well beyond 2020 if we remain in the EU, whether the British government want them or they don't, because that's the nature of Europe."