Woody Johnson attacked Brussels farming methods and rejected fears over US chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-fed beef as “myths”. It comes after Donald Trump’s administration published demands for a post-Brexit deal, including scrapping “unwanted barriers” on food and drink imports. Mr Johnson said: “In the United States, we look at the bigger picture.
Donald Trump’s US ambassador to the UK attacks EU agriculture methods
“It is not sustainable for the whole world to follow the EU’s ‘Museum of Agriculture’ approach.
“We have to look to the future of farming, not just the past.”
Meanwhile, the President of Slovenia believes some EU countries would welcome a Brexit delay.
Theresa May has promised MPs a chance to delay the date Britain leaves the EU if her deal is rejected a second time in the Commons on March 12.
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has indicated Brussels may give “further guarantees” on backstop
President Borut Pahor said: “I think that nobody wants to see a hard Brexit in a chaotic way.”
This week, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said Brussels was “ready to give further guarantees” to Britain over the Norther Ireland backstop.
The insurance mechanism to prevent a hard border has been rejected by the DUP’s 10 MPs and large number of Mrs May’s Conservative Party.
Eurosceptics in Jacob Rees-Mogg’s European Research Group (ERG) hope the DUP accepts an amended Withdrawal Agreement that gives guarantees over the backstop.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon won’t rule out Labour Brexit alliance
1.10pm update: SNP’s Sturgeon warms to possible Brexit deal with Labour
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has refused to rule out a Brexit coalition with Labour.
Scotland’s First Minister said her party is “ready to work with other parties” to challenge Theresa May’s government over its “damaging” Brexit strategy.
Ms Sturgeon again called on the Prime Minister to call a second referendum on Britain leaving the EU.
She said: “We will be ready to contest any general election if one is called, and we would also be ready to work with other parties to oppose the Conservatives’ hugely damaging Brexit proposals.”
Reiterating her support for a second referendum on Scottish independence, Ms Sturgeon said: “Amid the chaos and confusion of Brexit, I think it is clearer than ever that Scotland’s interests are not being served by a Westminster system that too often treats Scotland as an afterthought.”
Tory ministers poised to join rebel Independent Group (pictured)
11.48am update: Ministers poised to QUIT Tories and join Independent Group
A senior government minister has declared support for the rebel Independent Group, paving the way for more possible Conservative resignations.
The unnamed Conservative told a member of the Remain-backing group they “agreed with everything you have done”, the Telegraph claims.
And more ministers are on the brink of abandoning the Tories to team up with the Independent Group as Theresa May’s Brexit crisis deepens.
Last week, Tory MPs Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen quit the party over its Brexit direction.
They joined eight Labour MPs who resigned the day before.
Three more Conservatives – Dame Caroline Spelman, Dominic Grieve and Mark Pawsey – are facing motions of no confidence over the next four weeks.
George Eustice calls on Britain to show ‘courage’ as EU ‘smells fear’ over Brexit
11.26am update: Eustice claims EU can ‘SMELL FEAR’ from UK
The EU can “smell fear” from Britain in Brexit negotiations, claimed George Eustice, who quit as environment minister on Friday.
He indicated Theresa May should walk away from talks on amending her Withdrawal Agreement.
Mr Eustice resigned following Mrs May’s decision to allows MPs a vote that could delay Brexit.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he warned Britain had spent “decades slavishly following EU law”, but must now show “courage”.
Mr Eustice said: “The reason the EU have not acted in good faith during these negotiations is that they do not think we are serious about leaving or at least they think we are too scared to leave without a deal.
“They can smell fear. They see in the body language of our negotiators a sense that we will only ever do what the EU grants us permission to do.
“They see us continuing to respect their trite and ostensible legal impediments and procedures even though we are leaving.”
Britain should follow Norway’s ability to “master the EU” and “walk out of the room” in negotiations, he claimed.
ERG deputy Steve Baker believes group’s MPs would back ‘Brady amendment’ Brexit deal
11.00am update: ERG’s Baker says ‘OVERWHELMING’ number of group’s MPs would vote for ‘Brady amendment’ Brexit deal
ERG deputy leader Steve Baker insisted the Eurosceptic group’s MPs will vote for a Brexit deal if attorney general Geoffrey Cox can win EU concessions on the ‘Brady Amendment’.
Sir Graham Brady, head of backbench Conservative group the 1922 Committee wants to the Irish backstop replaced by “alternative arrangements to avoid a hard border”.
But his amendment would support the rest of Theres May’s deal.
Last night, arch-Eurosceptic Mr Baker was adamant the Brady amendment is now the Brexit “touchstone”.
He said: “If Cox achieves what the Brady amendment set out to achieve then an overwhelming number of my colleagues will vote for it.”
DUP deputy Nigel Dodds must back amended deal, says ERG source
10.45am update: DUP backing for amended Brexit deal ‘CRUCIAL’, say ERG
DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds’s backing for an amended Brexit deal is “absolutely crucial”, an ERG insider believes.
Mr Dodds is one of eight star lawyers picked to analyse any concessions attorney general Geoffrey Cox wins from the EU before the March 12 Commons’ Brexit vote.
And if the Northern Ireland MP gives Mr Cox’s plan the thumbs up, the rebel European Research Group’s (ERG) will also approve, a Tory source told The Telegraph.
“MPs in the ERG are all waiting to see what Dodds says,” the source said.
“If the DUP is happy with the amended Withdrawl Agreement, then they’ll be happy”.
An ERG insider said: “If Dodds give his assent it will help to move the vast, vast majority of those who voted against the Withdrawal Agreement last time.”
Slovenia’s President Borut Pahor gives green light to short Brexit delay
10.15am update: Slovenia President REJECTS hard Brexit and urges delay
The President of Slovenia believes the EU could approve a Brexit delay.
Borut Pahor insisted countries in the single bloc are ready to move back Britain’s leaving date if Theresa May can present a plan with “clarity and consensus”.
It comes as the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier insisited the EU is on the brink of conceding to Mrs May’s demands on the Northern Ireland backstop.
Mr Pahor said: “I think Slovenia and a lot of other countries would say yes.
“I think that nobody wants to see a hard Brexit in a chaotic way.”
He backed a compromise on the Irish backstop , but warned Slovenia would reject any deal Ireland did not agree with.
US ambassador Woody Johnson is backing a trade deal with the UK post-Brexit
9.51am update: Trump’s man in Britain FLAMES EU and US farming ‘SMEAR CAMPAIGN’
US ambassador to Britain Woody Johnson lashed out at EU farming methods and called on Britain to lead a post-Brexit “agricultural revolution” with the US.
Donald Trump’s man in London dismissed fears over US livestock as a “smear campaign” and labelled the EU a “museum of agriculture”.
Mr Johnson told The Daily Telegraph: “You have been presented with a false choice: either stick to EU directives, or find yourselves flooded with American food of the lowest quality. Inflammatory and misleading terms like ‘chlorinated chicken’ and ‘hormone beef’ are deployed to cast American farming in the worst possible light.
“It is time the myths are called out for what they really are: a smear campaign from people with their own protectionist agenda.”
He added: “It would be a genuine missed opportunity to buy into the idea that the EU’s traditionalist approach to agriculture is Britain’s only option for a quality and efficient agriculture sector moving forward.
“You now have the freedom to make your own choices about the way you farm and fish, the products you import, and the technology you utilize.”
Britain exports around £18bn off food and drink annually, with £9.4bn to the EU and £1.9bn to the US.