Tory leader tries to stand up for British farmers Sizzling stuff from Mr Hague Few food suppliers are lucky enough to hear their value for money message to shoppers endorsed by the leader of the Conservative Party, but William Hague has bestowed this honour on the Danes by warning their bacon is dangerously cheap. Hague had intended to support protests against the alleged injustice of British pig farmers suffering "unfair" competition from foreign suppliers with cost advantages supposedly due to lower animal welfare standards. But publicising the cheapness of the imports may stimulate demand for them. And as British farmers are being paid about 20% more for pigs than Danish producers, who deserves more sympathy? Bacon appears not to be the real problem anyway. Latest available, though rather old, Customs figures show bacon imports lower this year than in 1998. The real stress is said to be in the pork trade. MLC has issued a briefing note emphasising the 18% import tonnage increase in January-June, including sharper rises in supply figures for Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium. Yet unmentioned in the MLC note, and presumably not known by Hague, is the UK's position as a net exporter of pork. Sales to foreign buyers have dropped more than 20%, but in the first half exports still outweighed imports by more than 10,000 tonnes. {{MEAT }}