BANFFSHIRE and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has written to the new DEFRA secretary Theresa Villiers asking for a timetable for the repayment of the £160million convergence funding diverted from Scotland’s farmers back in 2013.

The disputed money was allocated by the EU to help bring Scotland's below average per hectare farm support payments into line with other member states, but was retained by the Conservative Government and spread across all the UK Home Nations instead.

However, at a Conservative leadership hustings event last month, Boris Johnston gave a commitment to “make sure Scotland’s farmers get the support they are owed” – and now the new Prime Minister is in power, Banffshire MSP Stewart Stevenson has written to Ms Villiers asking her to make good on that pledge by releasing the money.

“Scottish farmers have not forgotten that the UK Tory Government has withheld £160m in funding rightfully due to them," said Mr Stevenson. "It is solely because of Scotland that the UK, as the Member State, qualified for this funding.

“The new Secretary of State has an opportunity early in her tenure to set right this historic wrong. New Prime Minister Boris Johnston has given a commitment, which has been welcomed by the NFUS president, so it should be a simple matter of carrying out the will of the PM and paying the money.

“Scottish farmers will be expecting more than warm words from the new Secretary of State," he added. "She needs to send a clear signal to Scottish farmers that she understands their distinct challenges and is prepared to pay them what is rightfully theirs.”