Tom slammed Andrea Leadsom’s performance at Wednesday’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee.
Under questioning from MPs the former Conservative leadership candidate failed to confirm what the consequences of Brexit would be for the food industry or consumers.
Her ‘lack of strategy’ was criticised by GMB, the union for the food and drink industry.
Leadsom, who campaigned for the UK to leave to European Union, was unable to state if the UK would be forced to use World Trade Organisation rules if it failed to reach an alternative agreement with the EU by 2019. She also appeared unclear about the effect of Brexit on food prices for the consumer.
Tom, who previously worked in food preparation factories in Thirsk and Billingham said:
This is just another example of a minister who cannot cope with the complexities that Brexit has presented.
The food industry is important not just for its employees but also for UK consumers. The industry needs a plan and certainty to be able to grow. People in the sector are worried about tariffs and unions are rightly concerned about what this will mean for jobs and workers’ rights. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Andrea Leadsom has the answers.
The government and Brexiteers are clueless on the details, and it’s risking the future of the UK food industry.
Eamon O’Hearn, GMB National Officer said:
Andrea Leadsom has today utterly failed to explain what the Brexit she vocally supported will mean for the UK food industry or for shoppers feeling the pinch.
The lack of answers coming from the leading Brexiteer and now Environment Secretary will leave consumers, business and the hundreds of thousands of people working in this industry in limbo with an unpleasant taste in their mouths. Brexit is a huge threat to the viability of the UK food industry and requires a strategy to protect it – and it’s now clear there isn’t one.
People need a guarantee that their jobs will be safe, that goods will not become too expensive and that workers’ rights won’t be eroded because of this Government’s Brexit negotiations.