Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to do “everything necessary” to stop “no-deal carnage” amid fears a no-deal Brexit could lead to the slaughter of millions of lambs.
The Labour leader visited a farm in Keswick after outlining that the potential threat of leaving the EU without a deal would be a “reckless and unnecessary act”.
British farmers could face an EU tariff of 46% on lamb leading to fears that, if the lamb meat cannot be sold, there will be culls of millions of sheep to prevent them dying of starvation.
The Government, however, says culling livestock is “absolutely not on the cards”.
Speaking ahead of the visit to Rake Foot Farm, Mr Corbyn said: “The needless, forced slaughter of millions of sheep is the perfect metaphor for a no-deal Brexit.
“The damage to our farming industry of such a reckless and unnecessary act is symbolic of Boris Johnson’s approach to Brexit.
“There is no mandate for this no-deal carnage, which we will do everything necessary to stop.”
Shadow Defra secretary Sue Hayman said the UK’s food security is at stake, with thousands of jobs depending on British farming.
She said: “British farming is the bedrock of the food and drink industry – Britain’s largest manufacturing sector, bigger than the aerospace and car industries combined.
“Not only do thousands of jobs in the supply chain depend on British farming, but farmers play a crucial role in environmental and land stewardship.
“A no-deal Brexit risks the future of our countryside as well as our nation’s food security. Now is the time to fight to save our farms from being undercut and sold down the river by this Conservative government.”
However, Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said farmers will have enough support after Brexit.
Ms Villiers said: “We have already been very clear that when we leave the EU on 31st October we will make sure that farmers get a better deal and a widespread cull of livestock is absolutely not on the cards.
“When we leave the EU we will maintain the same funding for farm support until the end of this Parliament and we will look to provide additional support where necessary in relation to EU exit. We will make sure that Brexit works for farmers across the whole country.”
Mr Corbyn has invited the leaders of other political parties and senior backbenchers from across Parliament to meet urgently to discuss tactics available to prevent a no-deal Brexit.