Red Tractor chair steps down after food standards backlash

Baroness Neville-Rolfe will not seek a second term as Red Tractor chair
Baroness Neville-Rolfe will not seek a second term as Red Tractor chair

The chair of Red Tractor Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe has announced she will leave the organisation.

The shock announcement follows industry backlash over her failure to back recent Agriculture Bill amendments seeking to protect British food standards

Last week (20 October), peers voted through two amendments to protect UK farmers and consumers from imports produced to lower-standards under future trade deals.

Lord Granchester's amendment ensuring future agri-food imports meet the UK's standards was voted through by 282 votes to 244.

Peers also backed Lord Curry's amendment looking to strengthen the remit of the new Trade and Agriculture Commission, by 278 votes to 200.

Both amendments will now return back to MPs in the House of Commons once again, in a parliamentary process known as 'ping pong'.

While many Conservative peers supported the amendments, Baroness Neville-Rolfe was not one of them.

She will leave Red Tractor Assurance at the end of her 3-year term on 12 November 2020.

She said that recent comments suggesting she did not back upholding British food standards were ‘wrong’.

“I have always believed and made clear that upholding strong agricultural and food standards is in the best interests of British consumers, farmers and manufacturers.

“Recent comments suggesting I do not take that view are wrong and have only gained credence by ignoring clear statements by me to the contrary.”

She said UK agricultural and food standards would be ‘even more important post-Brexit’.

“Over time I am sure standards will, rightly, become more rigorous,” the Baroness added.

“I warmly thank Vice-Chairman Andrew Blenkiron and the rest of the Board and CEO Jim Moseley and all the staff for their support.

“I hope and believe Red Tractor will have a successful future.’