Molly Pollock reports on the European Movement’s campaign to unseat Tory MPs who voted for the ‘trade deal’ with Australia
A pro-EU group is set to unleash its campaign of forcefully hard-hitting ads to pressurise and unseat Tory MPs who voted for the UK/Australia trade deal which is probably set to affect farmers in the UK by undercutting prices and lowering food and animal welfare standards.
The group is the European Movement, an independent all-party pressure group which campaigns for a close relationship with the European Union, and seeks to ensure European values, standards, and rights are upheld in British law post-Brexit. Set up in the wake of the second world war the British group was supported by Clement Attlee and Winston Churchill. Unsurprisingly, in the 2016 Brexit referendum the European Movement opposed leaving and campaigned to remain.
The Scottish arm is the European Movement in Scotland which campaigns to promote the European Union and Scotland’s fullest possible participation now and for the future. Amongst its President, Vice-Presidents and Patrons are many well-kent names including that of Michael Russell and Dr Winnie Ewing.
Polling for the European Movement by Deltapoll, in a nationally representative poll of more than 3,000 adults between 13th and 15th October, shows 62% of Conservative voters, 63% of Lib Dem voters and 64% of Labour voters “agree that imported food should be of the same or higher environmental and animal welfare standards.” A mere 10% of voters indicate they will put up with falling standards, providing the food is still safe to eat.
The polling shows 70% want the UK’s ban on hormone-fed animals to apply to overseas farmers selling food, whilst 58% demand a complete ban on all imported food produced with pesticides, even if it meets current UK standards.
In this polling the mood of the public is definitely on the side of high environmental and animal welfare standards for imported food with 58% wanting to apply the same (43%) or higher (15%) standards than the UK has at present.
Such feelings suggest trade deals with countries like New Zealand, Australia and America — all of which have lower standards than the UK — would be politically controversial and unpalatable for the public if they don’t comply with current British standards.
Campaign to unseat 44 Tory MPs
Now an article in the Mirror indicates the Movement has issued a list of 44 Tory MPs it intends to target, using a strongly-worded advertisement campaign based on three areas their polling indicates could sway voters: animal welfare, environment and food standards such as the possible UK acceptance of foods like chlorinated chicken.
MPs at the top of the Movement’s hitlist include Dominic Raab, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Douglas Ross and Jeremy Hunt.
The full list includes a number of Scottish Tories – Alister Jack, Andrew Bowie, David Duguid, David Mundell, Douglas Ross, and John Lamont.
Let’s hope local pro-EU activists in these areas can add their own weight to this campaign.