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Histery among UK politicians: Minister must explain that UK has enough food

Staff Writer |
UK Prime Minister Theresa May will face her internal party critics on Wednesday as she battles to keep her Brexit plans on track.

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The prime minister will attend a meeting of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee in Parliament just days after one anonymous opponent suggested she should "bring her own noose" to the gathering.

The PM told Tuesday's Cabinet meeting in 10 Downing Street that preparations for the no-deal scenario continue to be "essential", but stressed that the government's priority is to secure a deal.

Irish broadcaster RTE reported that the EU is ready to agree the UK-wide backstop proposed by May, but only as part of a separate treaty following a withdrawal agreement including a backstop applying to Northern Ireland only.

Labour's Baroness Jones of Whitchurch said whatever the outcome of Brexit negotiations, the UK would be obliged to conduct more border checks on food supplies.

"Can you say with confidence that sufficient border staff, vets and food safety inspectors have been recruited to ensure there are no delays and no food shortages as a result of a no deal Brexit," she demanded.

To some jeers, Lord Gardiner said: "There will not be food shortages because of Brexit. We have a very sophisticated food industry in this country with plenty of experience and mechanisms around the world to source foods.

"It is not the case that we will have food shortages. We produce a very large amount of food already."

Lord Gardiner said the UK currently had a production to supply ratio of 60% for all food and 75% for "indigenous type" foods.

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