As is usual when talking about trade we’ve got one side of the argument entirely misunderstanding the subject. The claim is that if the UK cuts tariffs on food imports from the US then this will damage UK farming. Yep, it will. That damage will be exactly and precisely the benefit that cutting tariffs on US food provides to the UK. Because the point if all of this having an economy stuff is to enable consumption. The point of trade is to be able to have the stuff that Johnny Foreigner does better or cheaper than we dowe do.
The UK government is drawing up plans to slash tariffs on US agricultural imports to advance progress on a trade deal despite concerns from some ministers and Conservative MPs about the damage they could cause to British farming.
Another way to make much the same point. The current restrictions allow UK farmers to charge UK consumers more than they would in a free market. So, we reduce those restrictions and the amount UK farmers can gouge UK consumers reduces. The benefit to the UK of reducing the restrictions is exactly the amount of that lesser gouging. Or, the benefit is precisely that amount by which UK farming gets damaged.
That is, if UK farming were not to be damaged by free trade then there would be no point in having free trade. For free trade wouldn’t change anything thus why bother? It’s the very fact that there will be damage which is the justification for the free trade.
Let us not forget that the great flowering of British living standards happened after the Engels Pause, after the abolition of the Corn Laws. The very laws that meant that the benefit of the Industrial Revolution flowed to the capitalists and landlords rather than to the workers. Why wouldn’t we be in favour of the workers, now as in 1846?