LANDOWNERS are becoming alienated from their longstanding allies in the Conservative Party, denouncing them as political ‘sheep’ blindly following Brexiteer policies that will hurt the countryside.

Speaking out after an abortive attempt to speak to Defra minister Michael Gove, Adrian Hill, of Woodside Farm, Brougham, a former non-executive director of Harrison and Hetherington, whose wife, and her siblings, own Tayvallich Estate in Argyll, predicted that the Tory Party would suffer rural electoral losses as a result of its plans for a ‘Green brexit’.

Along with other farmers and landowners, Mr Hill had attended a breakfast meeting in the House of Commons Terrace, organised by solicitors Turcan Connell, where Mr Gove was supposed to address the delegation – and then listen to their views.

“At the start when we were told that Gove was ‘too important and busy to come to our breakfast’ despite more than 50 of the most important farmers and businessfolk travelling the length of our country to do so,” reported Mr Hill, “everyone was unsurprisingly a wee bit pissed off.”

When Mr Gove’s ‘sidekick’ George Eustice appeared in his place, implying that the visitors were “lucky we had had 20 minutes to listen to his views, which of course we had read before”, matters deteriorated, and Mr Hill faced off Mr Eustice asking that he “sit down and shut up and listen to us, as that’s why we have come, to give our views”.

“That didn’t work,” said Mr Hill. “Basically they wanted us to gang up on the SNP and demand they fell in with the English cuts to subsidy and the Gove plan to pay something for ill defined ‘social goods’.

“Then I suggested that Gove’s farming policy was really putting a green veneer on right wing Brexiteer policies which were irrelevant to farmers in Scotland, because access to the EU market for our products was our overriding priority – the ‘noble’ Lord Duncan of Springbank told me simply I was talking ‘shite’.

“That is the level of debate these days between leading farmers, landowners and our government over breakfast in the House of Commons!” stormed Mr Hill, who accused Mr Gove and his deputies of being political extremists pursuing ideology at the expense of practicality.

A former Tory Party donor himself, he said that his wallet was now ‘locked away’ from their grasp.

“Millions and millions and millions of moderate and successful people hold views like mine,” he said.

“Our views cannot be reconciled with Mr Gove’s. We are traditional Tories. We are just beginning to find our voice. We are the entrepreneurs of Britain, the wealth creators.

“Our party has left us, and like a jilted lover you Tories can be assured we will never ever come back to you again,” said Mr Hill.

“We will take our money, our intelligence, our energy, our dynamism, our organisational skills, our leadership skills and we will use them all against you. We are repulsed by your ideology and we reject everything you stand for.”

Mr Hill now plans to stand as an independent against Conservative MP Rory Stewart in Penrith and the Border: “I will win too. You will find that prominent businessmen, farmers and businesswomen stand against Tories in virtually every constituency in this country at the next election. They will all win too. Without us the Tory Party will die,” he predicted.