I accept that Prime Minister’s questions is political theatre, but behind MP Warburton’s question to the Prime Minister earlier today is a serious issue that he was surely right to raise. Yet as an utterly pointless exchange goes, it does not I suspect come any better than this.
David Warburton (Somerton and Frome) (Con): As I am sure the Prime Minister is aware, my constituency apparently contains more cows than any other. That means world-class cheese, from Godminster and Barber’s to Montgomery’s Cheddar, Wkye Farms and many more. Can my right hon. Friend assure the west country’s farmers that in negotiating the best deal for Britain in the coming weeks and months, the interests of our agricultural industry and farming community will be foremost in her mind? Will she pop down to Somerset soon for a chunk of Cheddar and perhaps a drop of cider?
Mr Speaker: West country cheese! I think we are clear.
The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend’s invitation for some west country cheese and cider is difficult to refuse, so I look forward at some stage to coming down to Somerset and being able to sample those products. He is absolutely right, as others in this Chamber have been, about the importance of our agricultural sector to economies across the UK. Particular parts of the UK rely heavily on the agricultural sector, and we will be taking their needs and considerations into account as we negotiate and deliver the best possible deal for this country in leaving the EU.
What this exchange does not do is:
Commit the PM to visit Somerset within a particular timeframe?
Demonstrate the degree to which cheese making is significant in the Somerton and Frome constituency. Is it? I presume it is, but do we do nothing else? Is it 25%, 50%, 75% of what we do. Who knows? Apparently neither MP nor Prime Minister.
And what has the PM promised. To take note? What are we saying here; had she not noticed we had a large agricultural sector in this county (and country) previously?
Has any commitment been made or any promises for the future. Well er no….
The only think we really learned is that the speaker of the House is aware that Britain produces other types of cheese than cheddar. That at least is a fact in a place where they are notoriously hard to find.