A SENIOR Government official is ‘terminally deluded’ if he thinks the UK doesn’t need its own farming industry, Bridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger has warned.

In leaked emails obtained by The Mail on Sunday, influential Treasury adviser Tim Leunig said the food sector was not ‘critically important’ to the economy – and that agriculture and fishery production certainly wasn’t.

He said the UK could follow the example of Singapore ‘which is rich without having its own agricultural sector’.

But Mr Liddell-Grainger, Conservative MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset, said Dr Leunig needed to step outside the M25 and get a taste of real life now and then.

“It’s one thing to sit in the Treasury checking balance sheets all day but figures never tell the whole story,” he said.

“The food sector employs more people than aerospace and car manufacturing combined and it’s supported by one of the most well-regarded farming sectors in the entire world.

“In terms of climate, soil quality, diversity of production and expertise British agriculture has no rival: to say that it can all be chucked on the scrap heap suggests to me Dr Leunig is sadly and terminally deluded.”

Mr Liddell-Grainger said it was already a scandalous situation that the UK was importing nearly 50 per cent of its food.

“We should be looking to reduce that percentage, not throw in the towel and rely even more on imports – an economically-perilous situation which would mean other food-producing countries would have us over a barrel,” he said.