THE SNP will vote against the UK Government’s Agriculture Bill today, saying it represents an attempted Tory power grab on Holyrood.

The bill sets out the UK’s approach to farming now it has left the EU, with ministers looking to replace Brussels’ Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) that has applied in Britain since 1973.

Ahead of the bill returning to the House of Commons today for its second reading, the SNP’s shadow rural affairs secretary Deidre Brock said it disregards the devolution settlement as it attempts to seize key powers from the Scottish Parliament that impact on farming and food production. The SNP have tabled a reasoned amendment that seeks to strike down the bill.

Brock said: “This bill rides roughshod over the devolution settlement with Scotland and refuses to respect the right of the Scottish Parliament to legislate on farming issues and food production. This is yet another attempt at a power grab by Westminster and it can’t be tolerated. The SNP will vote against it.

“The proposals in the bill are not just bad for Scotland, but the other devolved administrations. The new English system of farm support will move cash away from food production and towards a concept of public goods risking serious long-term problems for the whole of the UK.

“Scotland’s farmers and crofters have had nothing but contempt from the Tories and years of uncertainty – and now they face a Tory Trump trade deal that threatens to undermine our world-renowned Scottish produce and an Agriculture Bill that is still trying to grab devolved powers on key farming and food issues.”

Brock’s comments came as the Prime Minister was urged to enshrine commitments on food hygiene and environmental protections into the Agriculture Bill.

Boris Johnson, is expected today to rule out relaxing rules on food hygiene and environmental standards when he sits down to broker trade deals with the European Union, the US in the coming months.

But in a bid to ensure the PM sticks to his trade talk promises, Labour is calling on the Government to include the commitments in its legislative proposals. Shadow environment secretary Luke Pollard said Johnson’s pledges “aren’t worth anything” until they are written into what will be the first substantial piece of post-Brexit legislation debated by MPs.

Pollard said without the legal assurances chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-treated beef could be just a sample of the food products that will become available on UK supermarket shelves once the transition period is over in 2021. The Labour agriculture spokesman said allowing such imports would not only lower standards but also undercut British farmers and producers.

He said: “We won’t accept chlorinated chicken in our supermarkets or Boris Johnson selling out our animal welfare, food and environmental protections in a bid for a trade deal with Donald Trump.

“Promises that ministers have made to maintain standards aren’t worth anything until they are written into law, and unless they do so we must surely conclude that they intend to break these promises during trade talks with the USA.”