BUY British, Boris Johnson has urged consumers, as he thanked farmers for keeping the shelves in the country’s supermarkets filled during the Covid crisis.

Addressing the National Farmers’ Union conference vis videolink the Prime Minister made clear that he wanted people to buy more British food and for more of it to be sold abroad and that, post Brexit, Britain should embrace a “new, modern age for farming”.

He said: “I’m delighted that already we’ve got back on the shelves around the world, we’ve got British beef back on American plates, pork trotters on Chinese tables and cheese on supermarket shelves across the Gulf.”

Mr Johnson noted how the conference would hear later from Liz Truss, the International Trade Secretary, whom he described as the “tip of the spear of our great cheese exporting mission”.

“But I can assure you that we are pulling out all the stops, while making clear that in all our trade negotiations we won’t compromise on high, environmental protection and animal welfare standards,” he insisted.

Looking forward, the PM said that, freed from the “shackles” of the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy, he hoped this could be the “moment when we start to realise the many opportunities we now have, not just for the benefit of our fantastic farmers, for all of you, but for our entire country”.

He explained how there were opportunities to make farming more profitable, productive, sustainable and resilient, at the same time as protecting the environment, cutting carbon, improving animal health and using “potentially revolutionary technology” such as gene editing.

“This crisis has tested us all but also brought a new and wider appreciation of the incredible work that you do, that farmers do every day, and in all weathers.

“Now is the time to embrace a new, modern age for farming, building on what we do best, with high-quality produce made to a high standard, while at the same time, pursuing all farming can do to protect nature and tackle climate change, as we look forward to Cop26 in Glasgow in November”, he added.