Gove: I could block US trade deal allowing import of chlorine-washed chicken

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has suggested he could block a post-Brexit trade deal with the US if it included allowing the import of chlorine-washed chickens.

Giving evidence to the Commons Environment Committee, Mr Gove said the issue was one of animal welfare rather than food safety, and Britain would need to be "assertive" in such trade talks.

He said: "The Cabinet is agreed that there should be no compromise on high animal welfare and environmental standards.

"In America they cannot guarantee the same high standards in terms of how chickens are reared that we insist on here.

"Unless there is a change in the American side we would say that those animal welfare rules are things on which we will not compromise.

"The whole point about trade deals is that you have got to be assertive in defence of your own interests."

Mr Gove said the Environment Department "punches above its weight" and has "extra muscle" in Whitehall.

He added that Parliament could stop the Government signing a trade deal MPs did not like.

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