A DORSET MP was one of the Conservative rebels leading an effort to guarantee post-Brexit food imports will match the UK's food and environmental standards.

North Dorset MP Simon Hoare, along with colleague Neil Parish, led the push for the Agriculture Bill to require a level playing field between British farmers and those overseas in future trade agreements.

The bill sets out new policy as the UK quits the EU-wide Common Agricultural Policy.

An amendment was defeated by 277 votes to 328, majority 51.

The government victory came despite some MPs, including chancellor Rishi Sunak, accidentally voting the wrong way via the new electronic system.

The division list showed 22 Conservative MPs supported the amendment.

Mr Hoare, the chairman of the Commons Northern Ireland affairs select committee, said: "Anybody can look at a whole variety of websites to realise some of the pretty horrendous ways in which livestock is raised in a number of countries across the world.

"And I think we should shun that and be a beacon for excellence and high standards."

Mr Parish, chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, told MPs it was "time for us to stand and be counted" and support such measures.

But environment minister Victoria Prentis warned of "unintended consequences" of amending the bill and insisted all EU import standards will be converted into domestic law by the end of the December 2020 transition period.

She told the Commons: "I'd like to reassure colleagues that all food coming into this country will be required to meet existing import requirements.

"At the end of the transition period, the Withdrawal Act will convert all EU standards into domestic law.

"This will include a ban on using artificial growth hormones in beef. Nothing apart from potable water may be used to clean chicken carcasses and any changes to these standards would have to come before this Parliament.

"We will be doing our own inspections to ensure that these import conditions are met."

The bill later cleared the Commons after receiving a third reading by 360 votes to 211, majority 149.