A ‘NO DEAL’ Brexit is not an option for Scottish farmers and crofters, according to NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick

Speaking at the union's AGM, Conference and Council meeting in Glasgow, Mr McCornick stressed that union’s position on Brexit had remained unchanged since the vote in 2016 – a deal must be struck with the EU over both trade and labour, or the industry faced 'catastrophe'.

Mr McCornick highlighted the need for politicians to work together and 'to leave politics and egos at the door', as they work to get the best possible deal out of the negotiations.

In his speech, the president said: “A ‘no deal’ means a ‘hard Brexit’ and this means the UK falling out of Europe on March 30, and the application of World Trade Organization tariffs.

“Under a WTO regime the rules will deliver no continuity on what we are currently doing for many key sectors of our economy. This means massive disruption, amongst which will be the introduction of tariffs.

“Agriculture and agri-food will be the most seriously affected where the highest tariff rates are found. Red meat for example would see tariffs of around 40%.

“We must be sensible in what trade-offs we do. Europe can and will be brutal," he warned. "Services are where Europe has a large trade surplus with us but in manufacturing including agri-food there is a massive deficit. We need to remember that a deal is not about what you get, but about what you give up.

“I was in Brussels last week, the day after the non-historic, second historic vote and there is certainly a different perception over there, compared to the Westminster bubble and media hype which we are subjected to in the United Kingdom," he noted.

“The one thing I can say is that the whole atmosphere and ethic is different. I came away with the feeling of collaboration and willingness to understand where they needed to go to. In the UK, all we can see is confrontational politics with polarised views and intransigence.”