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The texts below are extracts from the two new MPs' first speeches to the Commons.

Neil Parish CommonsNeil Parish MP: "I should probably declare an interest as a farmer, and hon. Members would expect me to talk a bit in the rural affairs debate about agriculture, food production and the need for food production. My view is that the rising world population means that we need food. We need food in areas where we can produce it. In Devon, we have the rolling hills, the beautiful water and the right climate to grow excellent grass and produce good milk, good beef and good lamb. We should make sure that the whole country eats it, not just Devon, because it is among the best and healthiest that can be found. We have to promote our food more. I look forward to the Government introducing a food ombudsman, because farmers have to get a fair price for their food. It is not just about the subsidy that might or might not come from the common agricultural policy and the European Union, but about farmers being able to make a decent living from what they produce and to look after the countryside at the same time. Farmers are not the problem for the countryside and the environment, but the solution. That is something that I am determined to speak up about in this House. In the west country, we have a particularly virulent disease at the moment, which is tuberculosis in cattle. I look forward to this Government ensuring that we not only have healthy cattle but healthy wildlife."


John Glen Commons John Glen MP:
"I am delighted by the new Government's commitment to providing accurate information on food labelling, so that when something is labelled "Produced in Britain", that is actually true. It should not mean that the product was cut up, washed, prepared and repackaged in Britain. I also welcome the Government's promise that food procured by Government Departments, and eventually the whole public sector, will meet British standards of production wherever that can be achieved. I hope that Whitehall will be able to source more of its food from British suppliers, as that would be a key way in which to help farmers in Britain and, hopefully, those in my constituency. At a time when less than 1% of bacon served to United Kingdom armed forces is British, I thoroughly recommend a good helping of locally produced Wiltshire ham as a reliable alternative. I also hope that the Government will get rid of the Agricultural Wages Board, which has become an unnecessary bureaucracy that achieves little for farmers or their workers. I hope that they will be able to act in the best interests of our farmers, who need less intervention, more trust and greater freedom at every point. I believe that what is required more than anything else at this challenging economic time for rural Britain is a recognition that rural poverty needs to be addressed directly and urgently. We often forget that many of the lowest-paid members of our society are part of the rural economy and rely on a vibrant food-producing sector to survive."

Tim Montgomerie

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