By Debbie James

More than a million people have signed a petition demanding a rethink on plans to allow imports of food produced to standards illegal in the UK.

Politicians including Pembrokeshire MPs Stephen Crabb and Simon Hart voted against an amendment to the most important piece of farming legislation to come before Parliament in decades.

The amendment to the Agriculture Bill sought to protect UK farmers from imports such as chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed beef from the US with a clause preventing future trade deals from allowing food into the UK not produced to the standards required of farmers and processors within the UK.

But the amendment was defeated by 328 to 277 votes after failing to receive the support of MPs including Mr Crabb and Mr Hart.

In reaction, the National Farmers’ Union launched a petition and that has now been signed by more than a million people.

As well as getting the backing of farmers it has won support from consumers, celebrities and politicians.

High-profile supporters include celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, TV presenter and farmer Jimmy Doherty, and former Defra secretary Theresa Villiers.

NFU Cymru president John Davies said the level of public support for UK farmers demonstrated by the petition was “absolutely fantastic’’ at a critical time for farming.

“The decisions that our politicians make over the coming weeks and months are likely to plot a course for our industry over many years to come,’’ he said.

NFU president Minette Batters, who described the level of support as “unprecedented’’ is now seeking a meeting with prime minister Boris Johnson.

The NFU has repeatedly called for an independent commission to oversee UK policy on trade and food standards, to help safeguard the interests of consumers as well as producers.

The government argues that there are major opportunities for British farmers in future trade deals, and says it engaged with food and farming groups in the run-up to launching US trade talks to represent the views of the entire sector.