The National:

LIZ Truss has vowed to “undermine” farmers in any trade deal the UK Government strikes after Brexit.

The International Trade Secretary’s gaffe came during a Commons debate on farming standards, amid warnings about chlorinated chicken and hormone-injected beef being introduced to supermarket shelves.

Labour’s shadow trade secretary, Emily Thornberry, probed the Tory minister over the potential import of lower-standard US produce.

She said: “There is no import ban against pork produced on farms using sow stalls because, as [Truss] said, it’s an issue of animal welfare not one of food safety. That means, if the Government drops tariffs on US pork, British pork farmers will be undercut by cheap imports from American agricultural companies using practices that have been banned in our country for the last 21 years.

“So will the Secretary of State listen to reason and write into the law the protection of all UK farming standards against imports that don’t meet them?”

Truss, however, muddled her words in her seemingly self-assured response.

She replied: “In any trade deal we strike, we will be taking into account our high standards to make sure our farmers are undermined.”

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LibDem MP Alistair Carmichael picked up on the International Trade Secretary’s gaffe later in the debate.

“I can see why she wouldn’t agree to meet with Save British Farming at their demonstration on Monday when I asked,” the Orkney and Shetland representative commented.

The House of Lords last month amended the Agriculture Bill in a bid to block the import of foodstuffs produced abroad at lower animal welfare standards, amid warnings over chlorinated chicken or hormone-treated beef entering the UK market from the US.

The Government is expected to overturn the amendment in the Commons, and has consistently argued existing protections are already in place and they have no intention of watering them down.