Brexit debate: National Farmers’ Union believes members’ interests ‘best served’ by staying in European Union

The NFU council has decided on its stance in the Brexit debate.

The NFU council has decided on its stance in the Brexit debate. - Credit: Archant

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) says its members’ interests are best served by staying in the European Union - but it won’t be actively campaigning in the referendum.

The NFU Council met to discuss its position on the European Union referendum yesterday and decided it would not actively campaign for either side, but said it believed on the balance of evidence staying in was best for farmers.

“The NFU Council resolves that on the balance of existing evidence available to us at present, the interests of farmers are best served by our continuing membership of the European Union,” it said.

It said its position “is based solely on an evaluation of the agricultural merits of the case and the NFU is fully aware there are many wider issues at stake”.

“It is, however, the case that the Electoral Commission rules governing the referendum in effect mean that the NFU will be required to register to enable it to continue to carry out its essential role of informing members of the issues as they affect farmers,” it said.


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“The NFU will not be actively campaigning in the referendum; it will not be joining with any campaign groups and it will not, in any circumstances, advise its members how to vote.

“It is, however, the case that the Electoral Commission rules governing the referendum in effect mean that the NFU will be required to register to enable it to continue to carry out its essential role of informing members of the issues as they affect farmers.”

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The NFU said it recognised and respected the diversity of views among its membership, but said its position “is based solely on an evaluation of the agricultural merits of the case”. It was “fully aware” there are many wider issues at stake.

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