A Tory MP has said that the trend away from eating meat is a disaster for British agriculture writes Sophie Morris.

Conservative MP Bill Wiggin said he has "an issue" with people wishing to move to a plant-based diet as it means that big pharmaceutical companies are "determining our diet".

Mr Wiggin added that it is "not strictly true" that he does not like vegetarians.

He told MPs: "One of the problems I face is this current trend away from eating meat and I think that that is also a disaster for British agriculture.

"I did get stopped by someone who said 'Mr Wiggin, you don't like vegetarians' during the general election.

"Well it's not strictly true, but I do have an issue with this desire to go to a plant-based diet because this means importing soya from Brazil, this means really living with the big pharmaceutical companies determining our diet.

"So I'm very keen that we get back to direct payments for livestock farmers, particularly in Herefordshire, but to return to British food for British voters, constituents and consumers.

"And so I thoroughly look forward to seeing this Bill become law, and for the Agriculture Bill that will follow it, so that we can get a lot of these details onto the statute book for the benefit of all concerned."

Mr Wiggin also warned MPs to "not be fooled by the chlorination argument".

"Now I have huge, huge numbers of poultry producers in my constituency and the nightmare for them is Campylobacter which is what causes food poisoning and which kills people, and it kills about six people a year through food poisoning.

"If we chlorinate our chicken, we should save those lives," he said.

Mr Wiggin added: "Chlorinated chicken is not the monster it is made out to be."

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