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Prince William asks farmers ‘Is Brexit a big concern?’ is told ‘like turkeys voting for Christmas’

Prince William asks farmers ‘Is Brexit a big concern?’ and is told ‘it was like turkeys voting for Christmas’ as he and Kate nod

  • The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge went on a trip to rural Cumbria today
  • Speaking to farmers William asked: ‘Is Brexit a big concern?’ and heard it was
  • The sheep farmers in Cumbria told the royals they could face 40 per cent tariffs

The future King asked sheep farmers about Brexit today, to be told that no deal could be ‘absolutely dire’ for their livelihoods.

On a trip the Lake District, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge heard from locals who are deeply concerned about the possible impact of a no deal departure from the EU.

One farmer told the royal couple that farmers voting for Brexit had been like ‘turkeys voting for Christmas‘, as William and Kate nodded. Others had voted Leave but been disappointed by the management of the process since the referendum.

The Cambridges took the trip to the north of England as part of a series of visits to learn about normal life around the UK, including a visit to tyre manufacturers in Dundee facing redundancy and tenants living in poor conditions in Blackpool.

William and Kate during their visit to the farm house at Deepdale Hall Farm, a traditional fell sheep farm, in Patterdale in the Lake District

William and Kate during their visit to the farm house at Deepdale Hall Farm, a traditional fell sheep farm, in Patterdale in the Lake District

Today in Ullswater, chatting with farmers, they heard that under the worst possible terms of a no deal Brexit the prospects for farmers are ‘absolutely dire’.

They said they would face 40 per cent tariffs, a fall in exports, and an end to farming subsidies from the Common Agricultural Policy and the Duke and Duchess nodded.

Earlier the Prince asked a family of farmers around their kitchen table: ‘Is Brexit a big concern?’

One replied: I was very surprised that farmers voted for Brexit, to be honest. It was like turkeys voting for Christmas’.

Three generations of the Brown family spoke to ITV news from their farm in Patterdale. Grandad Chris voted to stay in the EU. His son Jimmy voted to leave.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to Deepdale Hall Farm, a traditional fell sheep farm, in Patterdale, Cumbria

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to Deepdale Hall Farm, a traditional fell sheep farm, in Patterdale, Cumbria

Now both share a concern about the uncertainty the Brexit process has created for them and their fellow farmers.

‘Brexit is the big worry’, said Jimmy, who mainly exports to Germany Spain and Italy. ‘it’s just the uncertainty.’

Chris added: ‘It’s always been difficult farming in the hills but we’ve always muddled through.’

Adam Day, from The Farmer Network said they were facing a perfect storm in the event of a No Deal Brexit.

He spoke of the value of their animals halving, their European export market drying up and the subsidies from the controversial Common Agricultural Policy drying up and not being replaced.

By convention the royal family do not comment on political issues out of respect for the monarch’s constitutional role, but the conversation is not without precedent.

In March of 2016 the Sun ran a splash headline claiming the ‘Queen backs Brexit’, which was slammed by the watchdog Ipso for being inaccurate, although the paper stood by its reporting. 

It was later alleged Micheal Gove was the source of the story, which was linked to Her Majesty speaking to then-deputy PM Nick Clegg about the EU.

The Queen also put out a message on the eve of the Scottish referendum in which she advised: ‘I hope people will think very carefully about the future’ which was broadly interpreted as support for the Union.

David Cameron later imprudently revealed she had ‘purred’ down the phone upon being told the result. 

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