De-Facto Deputy Prime Minister Welcomed to Islay Farm

Rt Hon David Lidington CBE MP hears about challenges facing island communities

NFU Scotland’s Islay members welcomed the de-facto Deputy Prime Minister, Rt Hon David Lidington CBE MP on-farm on Islay impressing upon him challenges faced by agricultural on island communities.

Tom and Robert Epps of Ardnave Farm, Loch Gruinart hosted the visit by the Minister on Friday 12 July where he viewed the high-value livestock and environmental schemes undertaken on the unit.

As a senior member of the UK Cabinet, Mr Lidington is responsible for advising the Prime Minister on developing UK Government policy.

During the visit, members from Islay impressed on the Minister the importance of the UK Government committing to long-term financial and policy support for Scottish farming and crofting if governments wish to reap rewards in terms of growing the food and drinks industry as well as delivering on public goods. In addition they also stressed the importance of retaining tariff free trade with Europe, and the protection of domestic agricultural standards in any future trade deals.

Members also highlighted the challenges faced by agriculture on island communities, and in particular the immediate challenges facing Scotland’s less favoured areas.

Gill Johnstone, Islay Branch Chairwoman commented: “It is not often that such a senior member of the UK Cabinet visits the Scottish islands, so NFU Scotland was pleased that the Minister took the time to see and hear directly from farmers and crofters on Islay.

“This provided a critical opportunity at what is a very challenging time for all of Scottish agriculture to leave an impression on the Minister about what agriculture can deliver if it is valued by our policy-makers.

“We were pleased that the Minister understood the public goods that active farming and crofting on Islay delivers, and this will provide NFU Scotland with a helpful lever in which to continue to lobby UK Government for a fully-funded, bespoke Scottish agricultural policy after Brexit that works in the interests of all of Scottish agriculture.”

Notes to Editors

  • Photographs from the Minister’s visit are available by emailing
  • As Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Mr Lidington is a senior member of the UK Cabinet with responsibility for advising the Prime Minister on developing and implementing government policy, overseeing devolution consequences of EU exit, and wider constitutional affairs.


Contact Ruth McClean on 0131 472 4108

Author: Ruth McClean

Date Published:

News Article No.: 99/19

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About The Author

Ruth McClean

Having worked in the communications and journalism industry for the last 11 years, NFU Scotland’s Communications Manager Ruth McClean understands the needs of journalists and has extensive knowledge of the wider agricultural industry. After growing up in Argyll and Bute and working in the area as a reporter for local newspapers for eight years, Ruth joined NFU Scotland in 2013 in her current role. She is also Editor of the Union’s membership magazine the Scottish Farming Leader.

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