A BORDERS politician has defended himself after rejecting an opportunity to ban imports of low quality meat.

John Lamont MP was among the Westminster parliamentarians who turned down an attempt to protect food standards last week.

But Mr Lamont, of the Conservatives, says the UK Government will ensure British farmers are not hurt by future trade deals.

He said: “Critically, we will maintain our import standards, which include the ban on chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-injected beef.”

Some farming figures criticised politicians for failing to back Neil Parish MP’s amendment to the Agriculture Bill in the House of Commons on May 13.

Mr Parish said the amendment aimed to make sure food imports are produced to the equivalent standards upheld in the UK.

NFU Scotland’s director of policy Jonnie Hall said it was “deeply disappointing” that the amendment lost by 51 votes.

Mr Lamont told the Border Telegraph he was “unable” to support all of the amendments.

The member for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk added: “The government has made it clear that no UK import standards will be diminished as part of any free trade agreement.

“We will also not undermine our high domestic environmental protection, animal welfare and food safety standards by ensuring in any agreement British farmers are always able to compete.

“I know that the UK Government is working very closely with industry figures to get the best trade deal that will allow Scottish farming to flourish.”

The Agriculture Bill passed its third reading in the House of Commons and will now be considered by the House of Lords.