Farmers mobilise against U.S “Hell Meat”

Pressure is building on North Yorkshire MPs to support plans for a ban on imports of inferior, low-welfare meat from US factory farms – following some of the biggest farmers’ protests seen in recent times.

Tractors with trailers, lorries and farm machinery decked out with “Save British Farming” banners travelled in convoy up Northallerton High Street on Friday 25th September and in Stokesley on Friday 9th October. Scores of supporters  lined the street, clapping, cheering and waving and placards calling for protection of food and animal welfare standards. 

The demo’s have received widespread media coverage including North East Bylines, the Northern Echo and the Yorkshire Post  – and the personal support of Yorkshire Post editor James Mitchinson who tweeted“Farmers – the people who put  food on the table – need our help if the country cares about the chemicals that go into our children and/ or the way animals are treated.”  The paper’s leader column said the demo: “offered further evidence of the simmering unease which has the potential to reach boiling point unless the Government listens to farmers, peers and all those who are now fearful for UK agriculture’s future because of its obdurance over Brexit.”

The protests, supported by Save British Farming, North Yorkshire for Europe and York for Europe, was organised to increase public awareness of the threat from planned deregulation of food standards to smooth the way for post-Brexit trade deals.

There were speeches by Graham Clarke, the Bedale farmer who led the convoy, Jon Johnson, of Save British Farming, and Lord Newby, leader of the Lib Dems in the House of Lords, who said: “When this Government says ‘trust us’ you have to double lock your wallet. Worse, this Bill will only be debated for 90 minutes, so keep pressuring your MP.

Later Graham travelled by tractor to the outskirts of the town to deliver a protest letter to Richmondshire MP Rishi Sunak’s office. Graham said unregulated US imports “will mean ruin for huge numbers (of farmers) who are just getting by right now.” 

Graham Clarke delivering his letter to Chancellor Sunak’s office

A US trade deal could allow in not just chlorinated chicken but also meat from cows and pigs kept in extreme crowded conditions in US factory farms  – where they are pumped full of antibiotics and artificial growth hormones banned in the UK, the EU and scores of other countries.

Imports of cheap meat from US factory farms – described as “hell meat” in a recent investigation by the Daily Mirror – would expose consumers to chemicals linked to cancer and undercut traditional livestock farmers in North Yorkshire. This would exacerbate problems created by a hard Brexit, with farmers likely to find themselves cut off from their main export market (90 per cent of UK lamb and beef exports go to the EU).

In May Rishi Sunak failed to support a rebel Tory amendment to the Agriculture Bill that sought to ban US imports of food produced to lower welfare, food safety and environmental standards than those required of British farmers. (In fact he voted for the amendment but made it clear later he had done so accidentally).

To their shame all of North Yorkshire’s other five Conservative MPs voted against the amendment: Julian Smith (Skipton & Ripon); Kevin Hollinrake (Thirsk & Malton); Andrew Jones (Harrogate & Knaresborough); Nigel Adams (Selby & Ainsty) and Bob Goodenough (Scarborough & Whitby) See the full list of MPs who voted the amendment down here

York Outer Tory MP Julian Sturdy joined the rebels by backing the amendment, also supported by York Central MP Rachael Maskell (Lab). We must build momentum to maximise pressure on MPs ahead of crucial vote next month!  (please see below)

It’s not too late to stop this madness!

On Thursday a pivotal amendment to the Agriculture Bill was passed in the House of Lords – that would “require agricultural and food imports to meet domestic standards.”So when the bill comes back to the Commons next month MPs will have another opportunity to do the right thing by backing our farmers and protecting our food and animal welfare standards – as promised in the Conservative manifesto and demanded by more than a million people who’ve signed the NFU’s food standards petition.

Please take five minutes to email or write to your MP! 

Contacting your MP

You email your MP using the Save British Farming link where letter is already part written …

Alternatively, you can email your MP direct (click on appropriate MP’s name below)  – remembering to include your address and postcode to show you are a constituent …

you can write an old-fashioned letter (click on link for office address). 

Rishi Sunak (Richmondshire) Constituency Office

Julian Smith (Skipton & Ripon) Constituency Office: Churchill House, 19 Otley Street, Skipton BD23 1DY
Kevin Hollinrake (Thirsk & Malton) Constituency office
Andrew Jones (Harrogate & Knaresborough) Constituency Office
Nigel Adams (Selby & Ainsty) Constituency Office
Robert Goodwill (Scarborough & Whitby) Constituency Office
Julian Sturdy (York Outer) Constituency office


Thank EU for Being Here!

Our ‘Thank EU for Being Here’ party for EU27 citizens on January 31st was a roaring success.

On a sad day for our country our supporters refused to be despondent – and more than 130 of us packed into the historic St Wilfrid’s parish Hall in Harrogate – including around 40 EU27 nationals with citizens from Poland, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Holland, Luxembourg and numerous other countries.

Entertainment was laid on by Arnold and the Raisers blues & folk band and by Arnold (again!) and the Reunion Chorus (the new name for the Yorkshire Remain Voice Choir). A vegan buffet was provided by the award-winning Mango Indian restaurant,  as well as stone-baked pizzas from a local Italian restaurant. There were speeches by European Movement vice-chair Richard Wilson,  Andy Dennis (an NHS nurse who volunteers with Medicins Sans Frontieres), and Richard Sadler, of North Yorkshire for Europe.

At 11pm , when the UK formally left the EU after 47 years, a minute’s silence was held followed by a mass rendition of Ode to Joy, the European anthem.

There were tears of sorrow but there was also optimism and very strong sense of kinship between so many like-minded people determined not to be downtrodden.

The event was filmed live via satellite link by a crew from ITN News at Ten. Watch News at Ten report from our party here [at 24′ 5″] Participants were also interviewed by Nick Robinson from BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme a film crew from BBC Look North and by BBC Radio York.

Our message: We want to thank our EU27 friends for the huge contribution they’ve made to our country – and we will do everything we can to hold the Government to account for the coming Brexit shambles! 

A big welcome to all our new EU27 friends … and a huge thank you to our supporters whose generous donations made this event possible.

Read more about the party on Margaret’s blog

Join the White Rose Army outside Parliament on Monday!

Yorkshire Campaigners outside Parliament at the SODEM protest

It’s crunch time. On Monday MP’s will be asked to take probably the most important decision since the Second World War – and what they decide will have implications for our country and our society for generations.

Book your ticket here

The momentum behind the campaign to put the Government’s deal – or any deal – back to the people has never been greater. A million people marched on Saturday, the petition to Revoke Article 50 is nudging the six million mark and opinion polls are now consistently showing a majority in favour of Remain.

But this could still go either way and it’s vital that we get a big show outside Parliament on Monday! 

Book your ticket here

Please come and join your Yorkshire colleagues and support the SODEM protesters and help us to put on a show that MP’s and the world’s media cannot ignore!

Yorkshire for Europe, representing all 12 of the region’s pro-EU groups is organising a fourth rally by Yorkshire groups – for which we’ll be bringing our Yorkshire flags and singing songs from the Yorkshire Remain Voice choir’s popular repertoire. This time it’s more important than ever!

We appreciate Monday is a day when many people are working … but please come and join if you can. It should be fun – and it couldn’t be more important.

Book your ticket here


NB These are approximate. Please check nearer the time as  departure times may change.

8.30am Leeming Bar Rest Area   A1 (M) J51 near Bedale DL8 1DT

Free parking in MacDonalds car park (NB It was suggested on Saturday that people parking in McDonalds car park needed to pay to park. Apparently this is not correct. If we find out that there’s a problem, we will switch to Leeming village)

9:00am Boroughbridge High School Bus stop YO51 9JX

From A1(M) J48, go towards town, past Morrisons turn on left and it’s next to the school on the right. You should be able to park in a side street close to the pick up point or in the Morrisons car park five minutes away

9:20am Wetherby Services off the A1 (M) 

The coach will pull up at the end of the car park closest to the service station, away from from entrance to retail area. We understand parking for the day is £15. We may be able to advise on alternative parking arrangements.

Departure from London approx 7.15pm

Coach Planned to take Yorkshire campaigners to Parliament

Yorkshire for Europe campaigners at SODEM demo
Yorkshire for Europe campaigners at SODEM demo

As MPs move ever close to taking control of the Brexit agenda, we’re planning another trip to Parliament … to remind them of their public duty to put this back to the people.

We’re planning to join forces with colleagues from other pro EU groups across the region by hiring a coach to take supporters to Westminster on Tuesday, April 2nd and Monday 8th April.

This will be the fourth and fifth trip by Yorkshire for Europe supporters. Every time we’ve been before we’ve got ourselves noticed:

  • We’ve secured meetings with MPs
  • We’ve got TV and newspaper coverage
  • We’ve got Yorkshire flags on national television
  • Our march on Parliament with Yorkshire flags has been shared tens of thousands of times on social media

Steve Bray and the SODEM team – who’ve been holding protests outside Parliament for 18 months – are very appreciative of this support. 

They’re asking us to support them again at this crucial stage in the battle to stop Brexit!

Please come and join us if you can. If you’re interested in coming please email us

Flying the flag for Yorkshire

Thousands of Yorkshire campaigners join demo

Demonstrators carry posters and flags during peoples anti-brexit march in London
Demonstrators carry posters and flags during a Peoples Vote anti-Brexit march in London, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

Brexit revolt as more than a million take to streets in London

What an amazing day! More than a million people from every corner of the nation joined the big Put it to the People march on Saturday.  It was one of the biggest gatherings London has seen since VE day – so big that many never got anywhere near Parliament Square to hear the speeches. But it didn’t matter because every one who went left feeling elated – and with a sense that the momentum behind Remain movement is becoming unstoppable.

Yorkshire flags were everywhere on the march
Yorkshire flags: a common sight everywhere on the march

A record 19 coachloads of supporters – including three from North Yorkshire – set off down the M1. Many more traveled independently. Read the story in the Yorkshire Post

People from all backgrounds, races, nationalities – adults and children, able bodied and disabled – joined together in common purpose: To stop our despotic Prime Minister trying to drag us out of the EU.

Supporters ready to board the first of three NYFE coaches
Supporters ready to board the first of three NyFE coaches

There were clusters of white rose flags almost everywhere (we lost count of the number of people who asked, “what’s the flag with the flower?!”) 

The march came as the online petition to Revoke Article 50 became the biggest ever seen on the Government’s website (see below). Meanwhileopinion polls  suggest the public mood has changed and people generally are going off the whole idea of Brexit.

No longer can the Prime Minister claim it’s the will of the people. 

North Yorkshire for Euriope Banner at the march

Yorkshire pro EU campaigners make their mark in Westminster

Yorkshire campaigners are welcomed by the “Voice of Remain” – Steve Bray

NYfE supporters joined colleagues from other pro EU groups across Yorkshire last Wednesday (13th February) for our first foray outside Parliament – and we immediately made an impact.

– Our press release prompted widespread publicity including this story in the Bradford T& A

– Our letter from the newly formed Yorkshire for Europe, an alliance of 10 pro EU groups now active in Yorkshire & the Humber, was hand delivered to all 54 MPs with constituencies in our region
– We were met by Mary Creagh, Labour MP for Wakefield, and two other sympathetic Labour MPs from our region
– The handover was broadcast on BBC Look North 

– Our colleagues Martin Brooks (York for Europe ) and Frederika Roberts (Best for Doncaster) secured face-to-face meetings with their respective MPs Julian Sturdy (Con, Outer York) and Caroline Flint (Lab, Don Valley)
– We joined more than hundred colleagues from SODEM (Stand of Defiance European Movement) Women for Europe and drew cheers from people passing by and thumbs up and horn blasts from motorists
– We joined SODEM’s inimitable Steve Bray for his “Six o Clock Shout” demanding an end to Brexit at the gates of Parliament.

Polly from SODEM has passed on her heartfelt thanks to NYfE/ Yorkshire for Europe – and has asked to keep coming to help build momentum for more and more groups to join us!

Brexit Shambles: The End Game


The last few weeks have been something a roller coaster for Remainers. First the PM went down to the worst defeat in modern Parliamentary history when her wretched Brexit deal was overwhelming rejected by MPs. Then she created the illusion of unity in her deeply divided party by getting approval for a fanciful motion involving the reopening of the deal guaranteeing a frictionless borders in Ireland (something that, quite rightly, the EU were never going to agree to).

Worryingly, a small group of Labour MPs voted to help defeat sensible amendments that would have allowed Parliament to take control and stop a cliff-edge No Deal.

All of which confirms that despite the achievements of the People’s Vote campaign in getting a second referendum on to the mainstream news agenda, this battle is far from won.

We should take heart from comments from Anna Soubry that many Tory MPs privately agree with her and would support a second referendum once all other options are off the table. Similar sentiments were expressed by Lord Newby, Lib Dem Leader in the House of Lords, who told an audience in Ripon on Friday that many MPs are keeping their heads below the parapet – but that they ARE very much open to influence from us!

Click on the image below to contact your MP …

That’s why it’s vital that people keep on writing letters and emails to their MPs.

Meanwhile, we’re asking those who can to join us on our special coach to Westminster – so MPs cannot ignore our voice. Details of our trips will be publicised on our blog or by newsletter. If you don’t receive our newsletter you can subscribe here.