UFU comment on election outcome

UFU Deputy President William Irvine on his County Armagh farm. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

The Ulster Farmers’ Union says it will work with the new Labour Government and UK Parliament to deliver for Northern Ireland farm families, following the general election results.

UFU president William Irvine said, “On behalf of the UFU, I would like to congratulate newly elected Prime Minister Keir Starmer, the Labour party and our 18 NI Members of Parliament who have been elected by the people. I also want to thank those who fell short in the vote, for their efforts working on behalf of rural communities in previous parliaments.

“We lobbied heavily during the election campaign to ensure our messages were heard and listened to, putting forward three key asks including a future support and development budget, the UK’s relationship with Europe and providing food and energy for the nation. Whilst the politics of Westminster may seem far away and NI’s representatives may seem small against a total of 650 UK Parliament members, the vital role that our 18 NI MPs play in representing the voice of farmers in this arena is significant. They are key to helping us deliver a sustainable and profitable future for all UK farmers.

“Although many NI political parties had agriculture policy at the heart of their campaigns, the few references to farmers or food security in the wider UK national debate was noticeable and concerning. With 670,000 people living in rural NI, and the agri-food sector being the backbone of the rural economy, politicians cannot afford to dismiss the importance of farmers in NI and across the UK.

“Moving forward we need all political parties to work together to safeguard and develop our agri-food industry, supporting farmers to feed a growing population whilst addressing climate change. Representing our members the UFU will begin lobbying efforts immediately, working closely with the new Prime Minister, Labour Party and MPs who have been elected into parliament. We will not shy away from calling out any party or political representative when their stance is unjust towards the farming community. However, we hope that our politicians will do what is right by our farm families and consumers, to help our agri-industry to thrive in this new parliamentary term.”