15th January 2018
The conference always starts with the politics session. In recent years it has often struggled to live up to expectations but with the Rt Hon Michael Gove speaking there was every prospect that, for once, the conference would be told something it did not already know. Mr Gove made it clear that he was in favour of an extended transitional period for farmers in relation to subsidies beyond the likely post-2019 period being discussed with Brussels. When pushed, he indicated his preference for it to run until 2024, though inevitably there were no guarantees given that that would fall into the next parliament. He also stressed the need for a ‘Green Brexit’ and that the environment and, in particular, improving it was to be the focus of any new payment scheme.