UK Brexit Agro-Coalition Formed

Eight organisations and trade associations involved in agribusiness have formed an Agri-Brexit coalition to bring together their expertise as negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU progress.

The coalition comprises: Agricultural Engineers Association, Agricultural Industries Confederation, British Society of Plant Breeders, Central Association of Agricultural Valuers, Crop Protection Association, Grain and Feed Trade Association, National Association of Agricultural Contractors, and National Office of Animal Health.

The UK voted in a referendum in June last year to leave the EU. UK Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union for the withdrawal of a member state from the EU by the end of March. The Article states that if no agreement is concluded within two years, that state’s membership ends automatically, unless the European Council and the member state concerned decide jointly to extend this period.

The UK Parliament passed the Brexit bill this week. But the UK’s post-Brexit plans, which have not yet been revealed, are likely to face confusion after Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon’s, intention to request the UK government’s permission for a second referendum on Scottish independence from the UK. The referendum, which Ms Sturgeon wants to hold between autumn 2018 and spring 2019, would be a re-run of the plebiscite held in September 2014, which delivered a 55- 45% vote in favour of Scotland remaining in the UK. If a second referendum does happen, the timing would be crucial.

Ms Sturgeon’s proposed timetable is likely to coincide with the latter stages of the UK’s Article 50 negotiations to leave the EU. However, the UK government is expected to demand that it not take place before the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.