BEFORE the election we were promised an ‘oven ready deal’, yet with just days to go a trade deal with the EU has still to be agreed.

Despite the pandemic Boris Johnson refused to extend the Brexit transition period so we face the prospect of a cliff edge ‘no deal’.

In the meantime negotiations continue over a US trade deal – the less the chance of concluding a deal with the EU the more the urgency for ‘Global Britain’ to get a US deal.

But here lies the problem, when Trump says America first he means exactly that and you don’t have to be a genius to work out that America will be calling the shots.

The US has made it abundantly clear that agricultural products and pharmaceuticals are at the top of their list for a deal.

The UK has some of the highest food standards in the world, with animal welfare and environmental protection key.

Contrast that with the US. Most people have by now heard about chlorinated chicken but that is the tip of the iceberg, as anyone who saw the excellent Channel 4 Dispatches documentary on Monday will know.

Beef stuffed with hormones, over use of antibiotics, pigs injected with ractopamine, very high incidence of e-coli contamination and salmonella and use of pesticides which are banned in the EU, these are all features of the mega industry which is US agriculture – and with no regard for the welfare of the livestock.

The Tories promised that the UK would uphold its high food standards. Don’t believe it, the more desperate the Government becomes to get a trade deal outside the EU the more they will be forced to compromise.

The US has made it clear that we should accept their agricultural products produced to their standards, not ours.

So when MPs had a chance on Monday to accept Lords amendments to the Agriculture Bill which would enshrine current standards in law the Tories (apart from 14 rebels) voted against – including local MPs Craig Williams and Fay Jones.

British farming is on the edge of an abyss, one report forecasting 30 per cent will go under, and Welsh farming is particularly at risk.

No deal with the EU will result in high tariffs on lamb exports. A deal with the US will leave UK beef, pig and chicken farmers unable to compete on price unless they lower their standards in a race to the bottom.

We can only hope that Trump is thrown out in November and we get a last minute deal with the EU (and don’t fall for Johnson proclaiming it a triumph, it will be a bare bones deal where the UK will benefit the least).

We have left the EU but that doesn’t mean we should turn our backs on our nearest neighbours and lower our standards just to kowtow to new aggressive trade partners.

Steve Boyd