Boris Johnson calls for CAP to be scrapped

London Mayor Boris Johnson has called for the CAP to be scrapped.

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, Mr Johnson said he agreed with Ukip there was a “need to scrap the Common Agricultural Policy, which costs every family £400/year in extra food costs”.

Mr Johnson included the controversial plan in a wishlist of reforms he would like to see if the UK were to continue its membership within the European Union.

See also: Read more news on: CAP reform

He set out his proposals for EU reform in a speech dubbed the “Boris Rally” at a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham on Monday (29 September).

Mr Johnson said it would be “easy” for the UK to leave the EU and sign up to a free-trade agreement.

He told delegates: “In an ideal situation, I would like to see a reformed EU where we remain squarely at the heart.”

But he said if the UK were to leave the EU, it would be “very easy to set up a free-trade, tariff-free zone”.

In an interview with the BBC last November, Mr Johnson attacked the CAP, labelling it as an “anomaly” and an “anachronism”.

Mr Johnson has been selected as the Conservative candidate in the safe Tory seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip at next year’s general election. He has already said he will not seek a third term as London Mayor in 2016.

His selection as prospective MP has added fuel to speculation that his goal is to replace David Cameron as Conservative Party leader.

In 2013, European farmers received a total of £49bn in farm payments provided by the CAP – roughly 43% of the total EU budget of £104bn.

France received the largest share of the budget (about 17%) and the UK netted 7%.

Critics have warned that scrapping the CAP would be a disaster for EU food security.

In addition, they have warned it would take away about half the income EU farmers receive in direct payments, force many farm businesses to go bust, and possibly lead to food riots.

NFU president Meurig Raymond said Mr Johnson’s comments represented a “short-sighted view” on CAP.

“Our farmers and growers would of course prefer to be able to compete in a market place without CAP, but we must ensure there is a level playing field for our farmers in this country,” he added.

“He also forgets that in times of volatility – financial or weather-related – CAP support can make the difference between staying in business or being forced to out of the industry.”

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