The CHAIR of the National Farmers Union (NFU) Five Counties Board, which overs Shropshire, believes the lack of civility to Environment Secretary Michael Gove is down to no answer on migrant labour.

Mr Gove addressed the NFU's annual conference last week and was confronted over the issue of migrant labour by the most senior delegates from the farming union.

Meurig Raymond, who was replaced by Minette Batters as president during the conference, told Mr Gove that the lack of clear action over whether EU or non-EU migrant labour will be allowed is now critical.

Malcolm Roberts, who farms in Maesbury, near Oswestry, is the NFU delegate for the county and he believes the cool reception the former education minister received is down to farmers not knowing where they will get labour to pick their crops from.

"We were quite disappointed that there wasn't an announcement about whether we could employ these people who play a big role in food production," he said.

"We need to know whether we can ge these people into the country to pick the crops and the role they play.

"We need to get it sorted. We were hoping for an announcement or some sort of call.

"I think the tone of messages to Mr Gove sounded harsh because ever since the vote result about Brexit was announced, we've been calling for this to be sorted.

"The regulations aren't in place – it was a harsh tone because we want action.

"We've bene expecting an announcement at the start and it didn't come. We were told it would be in due course. We need to know something and not have people being made to wait."

Mr Gove told the meeting that there was a compelling case for a new seasonal agricultural worker s scheme (SAWS) and suggested he would support a 'special arrangement' for the migrant labourers, of which there are around 10,000.

He said: "In addition, the government’s migration advisory committee are reviewing the shape of immigration policy after we’re free of EU constraints.

“I’ve explained to them that we will need continued access to skilled labour if we’re to keep our farming sector productive."