Tories Talk Turkey at Conference, Promising No Christmas Poultry Shortage
15:18 GMT 03.10.2021 (Updated: 20:58 GMT 03.10.2021)
Poultry farmers have warned that Britons will be denied their turkey dinners this Christmas due to a lack of cheap migrant agricultural labour since the UK's exit from the European Union, echoing the Road Haulage Association's demands for 100,000 lorry drivers.
Britain's prime minister and other top Tories have promised voters they will get their Christmas turkey dinners despite claims of post-Brexit labour shortages.
Interviewed from the Manchester Central convention complex
on Sunday morning by Sky News'
Trevor Phillips, Conservative co-chairman Oliver Dowden insisted that recent panics over fuel and food deliveries would not affect the festive season.
Phillips, a former leader of the Britain Stronger in Europe Campaign, challenged Dowden, asking "you can't promise me there's gonna be turkey on the table at Christmas, can you?"
"We are dealing with those issues across the board", Dowden said. "We will make sure that people have their turkeys for Christmas".
Prime Minister Boris Johnson
, visiting a local youth club before the conference kicked off
, said: "I'm very confident this Christmas will be considerably better" than 2020, when COVID-19 lockdown rules restricted how many family members could meet up.
"This country leads the world, actually, in logistics and supply chains. We've got very good supply chains", the PM insisted. "Where there are issues that we can help with, we will do everything we can".
Asked if there were likely to be empty shelves in supermarkets amid the road haulage labour shortage, Johnsons warned: "We are going to see a period in which the global economy, particularly the UK economy, because of the speed of recovery, is sucking in demand very fast".
1 October 2021, 14:41 GMT
Warnings by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) that a lack of 100,000 qualified Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers would lead to food and fuel shortages prompted panic buying a petrol stations across the country this week.
Former Tory party leader and work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith
lamented letting his own Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) license lapse 15 years ago but would be "game to get back in the cab".
He blamed the hauliers for years of inaction "as far back as 2013" on training new drivers while preferring to recruit from eastern Europe.
"The one thing I do know about this crisis is that it isn't just sitting here because we left the European Union", Duncan Smith said. "Even now in Europe there's a 400,000 shortage of drivers because of COVID and no testing... Hauliers have got to get on with it and finance the training".