The Liberal Democrats have put the Conservatives’ former rural heartlands on notice at their conference this weekend. It comes as the party has passed sweeping reform aimed at targeting the farming community that is “fed up with being taken for granted by the Government”.
The push to win the farming community comes after the North Shropshire by-election which caused a political earthquake in true blue Shropshire.
Now the party is gearing up to win over farmers in the May elections where eyes are on the blue walls of rural heartlands in places like Somerset, Herefordshire and Westmorland – key Lib Dem, Conservative battlegrounds in May.
Alongside the “Back British Farmers” party policy reform the Liberal Democrats have also launched specialised farmers campaigning packs for local Lib Dems to gain support from farmers and paint true blue rural heartlands in orange diamonds.
The new focus on farmers comes as they become more furious at the Government for their handling of trade deals that undercut British business. The Government is also phasing out existing farm payments. In December farmers faced a 5% reduction in support payments, with some facing even larger cuts. This is despite the new system of support payments not being fully rolled out until 2028.
It comes as the National Farmers Union has also launched a scathing attack on the Government calling the Conservatives policies on Farming “contradictory”.
Liberal Democrat Farming Spokesperson and former Leader Tim Farron MP said: “The Conservatives don’t understand farmers or what they do for our country. Because of this they will see a revolt from farmers up and down the country as they have done nothing but take them for granted and ignore their concerns.
“Farmers have been at the bottom of the pile with this Government constantly overlooked and ignored. This May they have a chance to send a message and shake the Blue Walls rural routes to its core.
“The Liberal Democrats are now the natural party of farmers, we want a fair deal for them. That’s why our conference will see us give a direct pitch to them as people that keep our country going.”
Liberal Democrat North Shropshire by-election winner Helen Morgan MP said: “Here in Shropshire, farmers are the bedrock of our community. During the by-election they told me that they had been desperately let down by the Conservatives and wanted to send them a message they couldn’t ignore. They sent that message and now this Government is on notice – take farmers for granted at your peril.”