Dogged by bad news, Johnson makes his way to Wales

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Boris Johnson is set to outline his strategy for helping Britain’s “great farmers” after the pound fell to a two-year low against the US dollar.

The Prime Minister will head to South Wales on Tuesday to discuss his plan for farming.

Johnson has claimed farmers will be boosted by leaving the EU’s common agricultural policy and by the UK signing new trade deals.

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson (Rui Vieira/PA)

But the trip comes after markets reacted nervously to the Government’s ramping up of no-deal preparations, with the pound falling to a two-year low against the US dollar – down 1.24% to 1.2228 dollars by the close of European markets on Monday.

The pound was also down against the euro by 1.34% to 1.0981.

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The sharpening of the tone on no-deal has drawn criticism from some of the Prime Minister’s Conservative colleagues.

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson met Johnson in Edinburgh on Monday and expressed her opposition to a no-deal Brexit.

Former work and pensions minister Baroness Altmann has claimed a group of Tory peers are prepared to resign the whip if Johnson’s Government pursues a no-deal Brexit.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s visit, Johnson outlined his vision for the farming sector “selling ever more, not just here but around the world”.

Johnson said: “I will always back Britain’s great farmers and as we leave the EU we need to make sure that Brexit works for them.

“That means scrapping the common agricultural policy and signing new trade deals – our amazing food and farming sector will be ready and waiting to continue selling ever more, not just here but around the world.

“Once we leave the EU on October 31, we will have a historic opportunity to introduce new schemes to support farming – and we will make sure that farmers get a better deal.

“Brexit presents enormous opportunities for our country and it’s time we looked to the future with pride and optimism.”

He will discuss the Government’s new approach to Brexit negotiations with Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford on the latest stop of his tour of the UK, which has included visits to Scotland, Birmingham and Manchester.

Baroness Altmann
Baroness Altmann (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Baroness Altmann, the former director-general of insurance firm Saga, told the BBC’s Newsnight: “We have to do whatever we can.

“I will not stand for leaving without a deal or continuing to threaten this irresponsible nonsense about it being fine if we lose all our free trade at a stroke.

“I don’t want to bring down the Government, I’m hoping that the Government will recognise through the summer that this strategy is flawed, that this has no democratic mandate, and that if we want to make a success of our future then we cannot possibly contemplate throwing away 40 years of integration – putting all our small businesses at risk, losing free trade not just with Europe but all the countries we have free trade with.”

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