When Michael Gove was Defra Secretary he was interviewed on BBC’s Countryfile.

He said that there was no point in the UK having high environmental and animal welfare standards if food produced to lower standards is imported.

Three years on the Tories are now desperate to strike new trade deals post Brexit and the Australia deal will be the firs

They see this as a stepping stone to membership of the Trans Pacific Partnership, joining a trade bloc on the other side of the world.

This is no substitute for being a member of the world’s biggest trading bloc on our own doorstep and the inevitable increase in carbon emissions makes a mockery of their green agenda.

Animal welfare standards in Australia fall far short of UK and EU standards. Sheep are subjected to the cruel practice of mulesing and cattle are reared in US style feedlots and given synthetic hormones to increase fattening, a practice which is banned in the UK and EU.

Yet the Government is about to sign a trade deal which will lead to zero tariffs and quotas on Australian beef and lamb imports within 15 years - even though the Department for International Trade has forecast an Australian trade deal will result in just 0.025 per cent increase in GDP.

Speaking on BBC Politics Wales Montgomeryshire MP Craig Williams said many farmers voted to leave the EU to access new markets such as Australia.

I campaigned against Brexit and not one of the many farmers I spoke to gave this as a reason for voting leave.

In fact we could export worldwide as an EU member anyway but it makes financial and environmental sense to sell to our nearest neighbours.

Is Mr Williams really suggesting beef and lamb exports to Australia and other countries (maybe China, as his boss mentioned in the HoC last week) could replace some of our EU trade? Or is it additional trade?

In which case where do we find the capacity given that the Tories want to take agricultural land out of production and are even proposing to pay farmers to give up farming altogether?

The logical outcome would be to lower our standards, the opposite of stated government policy.

As I pointed out in my letter last November current standards are not enshrined in the Agriculture Bill as ministers said that would “tie their hands in trade negotiations”.

If we do maintain current standards our farmers will be at a huge disadvantage, the alternative is a race to the bottom.

Our fishing industry was given a high profile in the Brexit negotiations yet UK fishermen have been thrown under the bus.

Now the Tories are treating farmers with contempt. Mark Drakeford has even said an Australian trade deal will put Welsh cultural identity at stake.

Steve Boyd