ENVIRONMENT Secretary Michael Gove has said the Government will impose tariffs on food imports if a no-deal Brexit occurs.

Addressing the annual NFU conference on Tuesday he said the full details should be announced in the next few days.

Mr Gove said the Government was doing everything it could to avoid a no deal, but also to mitigate the impact of leaving without a deal. He said the NFU and others have made strong arguments about the need to ensure stronger tariff protection for British farming.

"In particular, you have argued that we need tariffs on sheep meat, beef, poultry, dairy, both milk and cheese, and pig meat in order to safeguard our valuable domestic production," he said.

"Your concerns have absolutely been heard. It will not be the case that we will have zero-rated tariffs on food products, There will be protections for sensitive sections of agriculture and food production.

"We also have the power to intervene to provide direct cash support to the most vulnerable sectors and I will not hesitate to provide the support needed."

He urged farmers to continue their lobbying of MPs, telling them how difficult and damaging a no deal would be for British farming.

Mr Gove said: "It is critically important that every decision-maker in London, every parliamentarian who will vote in coming weeks, understands what a no deal would involve for British farmers and food producers. No one can be blithe or blase about the consequences.

"I hope you will make your voices heard, as you have already, in asking our MPs not to undermine or put at risk the potential gains of Brexit by voting for us to leave without a deal."

Earlier, NFU president Minette Batters, had called on the Government to convene a commission of food and farming experts to establish principles that will ensure Government upholds the high standards of British food production post-Brexit.

She wants it to make clear recommendations on the UK’s future food trade policy, including how to ensure food imports are held to the same high standards as those British farmers adhere to and how future trade deals ought to be scrutinised by Parliament and industry. Crucially, there must be a commitment that Government will be required to act on these recommendations.

Mrs Batters said: “I have asked the Secretary of State to commit to ensuring that any future new trade agreements will not undermine British food standards. Put simply, a commitment that after Brexit the food Britain imports will be produced to the same standards which is legally required of British farmers.

“And when I say standards, I mean all of the high standards British farmers observe – often at considerable expense – in protecting the environment, safeguarding animal welfare and providing safe food."

She said the commission should produce a report before the end of the year.