THE head of the farming union has branded Jacob Rees-Mogg “morally bankrupt” over his call for “hormone-injected beef from Australia” to be sold in the UK.
Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester ahead of a major speech from former prime minister Liz Truss, Rees-Mogg called for cheaper food.
He said: “I want hormone-injected beef from Australia.
“I’ve eaten beef in Australia, it was absolutely delicious, there’s nothing wrong with it and they should be allowed to export it here because we want lower costs.”
Minette Batters (below), the president of the National Farmers Union (NFU) accused the former minister of wanting to “annihilate” British agriculture.
She tweeted: “Unbelievable from [Rees Mogg] – an absolute desire to annihilate British [agriculture] – totally and utterly morally bankrupt.
“One thing’s for certain the Aussies would have deported him if he were representing them.”
Drew Hendry, the SNP's Treasury spokesperson, said: "Funny, the Tories said we were 'scaremongering' when we said we'd end up with hormone-injected beef from Australia - in their post Brexit rush to sell out for any trade deal, at any cost.
"Now it's a delicacy?"
His comments came during a fringe event at the Tory party conference for Truss’s address on Monday afternoon.
Nearly a year after she was forced out of office after a chaotic 49 days as prime minister, Truss rallied a supportive crowd of members at the event.
Truss urged members to “unleash their inner conservative” after calling for Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to cut corporation tax to 19%, at least, and to slash Government spending.
“Let’s stop taxing and banning things,” she told the packed room.
“Let’s instead build things and make things. Let’s be prepared to make conservative arguments again, even if it’s unpopular, even if it’s difficult. I want everybody in this room to unleash their inner conservative.
“And finally, my friends, let’s make Britain grow again.”
Truss said 500,000 homes a year needed to be built, suggesting environmental protections could be torn up to encourage building, and called for ministers to permit fracking.
She was joined at the Great British Growth Rally by allies and former Cabinet colleagues Rees-Mogg, Priti Patel, and Ranil Jayawardena.
Rees-Mogg continued the tax-cutting, deregulating motif, also calling for tariffs and checks to be slashed to boost trade.
Unbelievable from @Jacob_Rees_Mogg - an absolute desire to annihilate British Ag - totally & utterly morally bankrupt. One thing’s for certain the Aussies would have deported him if he were representing them. https://t.co/WFG2L5DvbR
— minette batters (@Minette_Batters) October 2, 2023
After the event, Rees-Mogg insisted Truss was not being unhelpful to the Prime Minister by drawing such a big crowd to a speech encouraging a very different agenda.
The former business secretary told the PA news agency: “We must support Rishi Sunak, I want him to remain leader, he has my full support.
“You would have to be kamikaze as a Tory to think it would be sensible to have a different leader.”
Nigel Farage, the prominent Brexiteer who was also in the audience and making supportive comments about Truss, saw the rally very much as a pitch for her to once again become Conservative leader.
Farage said : “She’s absolutely right on the big stuff – I’m slightly sceptical on the housing.
“This is a battle for ideas, it’s a rejection of her own party’s policies, but it’s really a battle for what the party becomes after it loses the next election.”