JACOB Rees-Mogg has caused controversy once again after he suggested the UK "does not need fruit pickers".

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Mr Rees-Mogg also suggested that cheaper fruit should be imported from overseas.

The prominent Conservative MP made the comments following the release of the UK's latest migration figures, which reached a record 745,000 last year.

"We don't need fruit pickers," he told the BBC, "If fruit can be grown more cheaply and more economically in foreign countries, we should import more fruit".

Despite record migration figures, British fruit and vegetable growers are continuing to see a diminishing workforce since Brexit and the pandemic.

The former business secretary's latest controversy comes after he called for more 'hormone-injected beef from Australia' at the Conservative Party conference.

In a later interview, he stood by his comments: "The successful farmers in North-East Somerset can compete globally because they are producing effectively and cheaply, and economically.

"Protectionism hurts farmers and consumers; it puts prices up and encourages inefficiency".

At the time, NFU President Minette Batters said the prominent Brexiteer was 'morally bankrupt' as allowing such imports would 'annihilate British agriculture'.

Hormone-injected beef was banned in the UK over 30 years ago due to concerns related to both animal welfare and public health.

A group of Somerset farmers in Mr. Rees-Mogg's constituency had hit back at his comments, saying the UK had "no desire to return to that style of farming".

"You prioritise cheapness, intensification, and cost savings over any environmental or animal welfare standards," the farmers' letter to Mr. Rees-Mogg read.

"We want to farm in a way that cares for our animals, preserves our landscape, and leaves our environment in a better state than we found it, for the benefit of generations to come.

"Farmers need support to embrace agri-environmental schemes, and improve animal welfare standards, but how can we do that if these standards are being undermined by cheap, hormone injected beef flooding the market?"