IT IS a safe bet that over the coming days, government ministers will seek to sell us half truths over what it is doing to solve the cost of living crisis in a bid to hide the half truths that created partygate.

These cost of living claims deserve the same scepticism we already have about Downing Street partying while the rest of society sat at home unable to get married, go to funerals or visit family in hospitals – let alone even think of laughing in the face of those abiding by the rules.

People will make their own decisions around this issue and, in reality, whether Boris Johnson survives or not will not have much of an impact on the grim economic times we are in. What is needed in response is a new level of honesty from politicians. They need to admit that over energy and food, there are no short term solutions to rising prices.

We need a new long term plan to boost food and energy security. On energy that means admitting the bridge to the fossil fuel-free green future the government wants is a lot more risky and uncertain than a few months ago. Food security has to become a central policy that covers all the policy decisions the government takes, be those about farming, trade deals or whether a thriving countryside is about the green thinking loved by celebrities, or food production to feed the nation.

A government adviser said this week that gene editing could be the best way to boost national and global food security. Gideon Henderson, the professor who said this at a House of Lords committee, is right to see the potential positive impact of science. This is an area where the UK could finally steal a march on the more cautious EU, where the precautionary principle has become an anti-science approach.

To be fair, Brussels is pushing the difference between genetic modification and gene editing, the latter involving only the manipulation of existing genes rather than introducing outside genes. However convincing 27 member states to see this is a bigger challenge than the UK faces to make this science mainstream.

It it is not an overnight solution by any means and as such it cannot be pushed by politicians as an example of how Brexit will help tackle food price inflation.

This process needs to start well before the laboratory. We need the government to emulate the EU by making clear that agricultural policy is about food security. The EU has stressed this is the core role of the CAP. This was the case when the CAP was created sixty years ago and events in Europe have brought the EU back to that same position in 2022.

London needs to end its denigration of farmers and food production by showing they are respected and the key to national food security. It needs to make clear that trade deals to allow in cheap food imports and plans to green the countryside will go on the back burner until food security can be assured within the UK. That will take real political courage and the seeing down of pressure groups, but that is what responsible government is all about.

When it has done this it has the moral high-ground to accelerate that process by using gene editing. However until the government accepts that the key role of agriculture is food production, gene editing will be a pointless investment for taxpayer or commercial cash. As a farmer recently put it on social media government ministers need to answer one question – with the world food supply in crisis, do they want farmers to grow food or weeds?

Gene editing is the right direction for farming and it is at long last an area in agriculture where there could be a Brexit dividend. However it is a long and expensive process from lab bench to commercial production. Outside the EU, scale may force the UK to find some new commercial partners with an interest in working together to share costs.

That may mean looking across the Atlantic and that in turn could create a clash with a country that sees little point in differentiating gene editing from genetic modification. Those are all issues for the future as the science rolls out – but that roll out of gene editing will be pointless unless there is a sea change at Westminster about the role of farming and food production.