I NEEDED time to reflect on the disappointing news that MPs have voted not to support the agriculture bill that ensures any food imported into the UK must meet the same high welfare standards as food produced here in the UK.

Over one million people backed the NFU food standards petition, that’s one million people who believe in the hard work and dedication that goes into producing food in this country that we can proudly say has some of the highest welfare standards in the world. That’s over one million people putting their health and values over cost. That’s over one million people caring about the process of field to fork.

As a district councillor that represents a rural area with farming at the heart of our community, I must stress how much farmers here pride themselves on farming systems. They work tirelessly to try and farm in a sustainable way, whilst looking after the environment and whilst maintaining the highest animal welfare standards in the world.

Not supporting this bill could be detrimental to the farming industry and to the healthy, nutritious food that’s on all our plates. In my opinion we cannot produce food any cheaper to compete with the likes of the US without compromising on quality, health or the environment.

Please support British farming by shopping local and buying British.

Cllr Nathan Garbutt-Moore, RDC

Move not wanted

I HAVE served as a district councillor since May 2019. During the whole of that time Cllr Duncan has been the leader of Ryedale DC, which consists of 30 elected members, of which 12 are Conservatives.

These have until the RDC annual meeting been given absolute power by the full support of the Ryedale First Independents. During this time Cllr Duncan frequently reminded council that we must accept his strategy and his decisions as he has an unassailable majority.

I now find the rhetoric he chose to use somewhat unpalatable, for example, “unholy alliance - chaotic coalition - comprising their principals - stabbing friends in the back, as well as honesty and integrity”.

Cllr Duncan is absolutely convinced that he and his chaotic coalition are the only ones, to quote his words, to see Ryedale through these difficult times. It is his holier than thou attitude, not an accident, that four out of seven of the original Ryedale First Independents no longer support the council leader.

With regard to “stabbing friends in the back”. Please tell me the reason why Cllr Frank, as vice-chairman did not accede to the chair?

It would seem to me that 15 of the councillors represent the people who elected them and the other 15 take their instructions from Conservative central council office.

Putting aside differences, I believe the people I represent do not want devolution, and do not want the local decision making moved away from the district.

Cllr Tony Riby, RDC

A bad mistake

I TAKE exception to Cllr Kean Duncan’s comments about our last council meeting.

At the last council election, residents resoundly rejected Tory domination of the council. Voters elected six former Tory members who had turned independent after the split, and rejected the six candidates who the Conservative Party put up against them. The last thing residents wanted was a council with a Conservative leader. Unfortunately, three of these supposedly “Ryedale First” independent councillors continue to support the Conservative Group.

I am sure residents did expect all political groups on a balanced council to work together. Unfortunately, the Tory party doesn’t work like this. They have to dominate and control everything that goes on in Ryedale. They don’t know how to share and they treat the idea of “consensus” as a dirty word.

So, instead of sharing the respective chairmanships between political groups to ensure co-operation and stability, they chose to use the council chairman’s casting vote to give them a very tenuous kind of control over the council, when the vote was equally divided. In my view this was a bad mistake. It is not what residents would have wanted nor is it in the public interest.

The truth is that there is more knowledge, experience and expertise outside the Tory Group than there is within it.

It is not the Liberals, Liberal Democrats and Independents who have compromised our principles. We have not ripped up anything, and all councillors have backed the council’s work to support residents through the coronavirus crisis. It is Cllr Duncan whose integrity is in question, because he is not prepared to allow the council to use the considerable expertise, experience and knowledge of councillors who do not belong to his group.

Cllr Paul Andrews, Malton Ward