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Prime Minister accused of misleading sheep farmers over US lamb exports

Leaked emails suggest the US has not yet lifted the ban on imports of British lamb.
Leaked emails suggest the US has not yet lifted the ban on imports of British lamb.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been accused of misleading sheep farmers following his announcement the US had lifted a decades-long ban on UK lamb exports.

It comes after leaked emails from Defra suggest Mr Johnson’s claims were misleading, and that the ban has not yet been lifted.

The emails also suggest there are “many steps to be taken” before shipments of British lamb can head across the pond, and it is unlikely products such as kebabs and koftas will be eligible for exports to begin with.

During a trip to Washington DC earlier this month, Mr Johnson said the UK is going to be able to export British lamb to the US for the fist time in decades.

He said: “It will allow kebabs, the kofta, the lamb burgers of the people of the US (to) be supplied at last by Britain, and fantastic juicy cuts of Welsh lamb and everything else.”

The announcement was welcomed by the National Sheep Association and Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers, who said it would help maximise trade opportunities for UK farmers.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford MP said he had written to Mr Johnson asking him to clarify whether or not the ban had been lifted.

He said it would be “deeply disappointing” for Scottish farmers and crofters if Mr Johnson’s comments were untrue.

Mr Blackford said: “Boris Johnson must now set the record straight and confirm whether these reports are true.

“Are his claims – as government officials say – ‘misleading’? Has the ban not yet been lifted?”

A Defra spokeswoman said the UK Government does not comment on leaked documents.

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