A Conservative leadership candidate has said the government could buy thousands of tons of British sheep meat and send them to UK hospitals and schools instead of the EU.
Kit Malthouse, the housing minister, said British sheep meat could be redirected to schoolchildren's plates and hospital canteens instead of EU markets in the case of a 'no deal' Brexit scenario.
The MP, who represents rural North West Hampshire, told LBC there is 'quite a lot' of sheep farmers in his constituency.
“Something like 80,000 tonnes of sheep meat is exported every year. Now if we go out with no deal, they think that will be significantly affected, so what do we say to them?
“Do we say, look, what can we do to make sure that the lamb ends up on to British dining room tables - it probably equates to something like four to five lamb chops per person per year.”
He asked: “Could we use it in hospitals and in schools or could we compensate farmers for any damage that might be caused?”
Mr Malthouse, who is a Brexiteer, said if the government is going to 'go over the line' then 'contingencies' must be in place.
He added: “We need to have a proper conversation with those industries that are going to be significantly affected by no deal.
“Those people who say it's going to be a catastrophe are wrong, those people who say it's going to be a walk in the park are wrong too. It will be somewhere in between.”
Who is standing to replace Theresa May?
Defra Secretary Michael Gove
Health Secretary Matt Hancock
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt
Home Secretary Sajid Javid
Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson
Former Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom
Housing minister Kit Malthouse
Former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey
Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab
International Development Secretary Rory Stewart
Brexit minister James Cleverly
Former immigration minister Mark Harper
Former universities minister Sam Gyimah