Union man’s fears over no deal Brexit
Farmers’ official reckons prospect is‘ terrifying’
The Lochfoot man leading the National Farmers Union of Scotland has warned of the “terrifying” prospect of a no deal Brexit.
NFUS president Andrew McCornick rejected suggestions the UK should walk away from Europe if MPs throw out Theresa May’s EU Withdrawal Bill next week.
Speaking during a live broadcast on Monday, Mr McCornick warned against confronting Europe.
He said: “That would be like pressing the nuclear button to see if it works or not. It’s quite a terrifying thought just to walk away and make them come to us.
“We are dealing with a country the UK, a member with 66 million people and we are stepping away from 500 million people, our market.
“Why are they going to think this 66 million people is worth destroying the rest of what they are doing?
“They are going to stick together on this – they are going to say this is what we have offered you.
“When I am across in Brussels, I hear them referring to [Brexit] as a self–inflicted wound and ‘it’s up to you to sort it’.
“It doesn’t mean we should not go over there and negotiate but to accept that we should just press the button and see what happens, I don’t think that’s right.”
The Scottish farmers’ leader added: “This withdrawal bill is sitting on the table and there’s supposed to be a meaningful vote next Tuesday.
“The outcome will determine where we go from here.
“We are very much on a watching brief at NFU Scotland on this.”
Mr McCornick’s comments came ahead of an NFU Scotland regional hustings in Castle Douglas on January 14. Three candidates contesting two vice–president posts will address NFUS members.
Current vice–president Martin Kennedy, livestock chairman Charlie Adam and combinable crops chairman Ian Sands will set out their stall in the Ernespie House Hotel at 7pm. Urging members to attend the hustings, Mr McCornick said: “It is an extremely uncertain time for Scottish agriculture.
“There has never been a more important time for members to get out to these hustings, listen to the candidates and make sure their vote counts.
“All three candidates have the skills and experience to do a fantastic job for NFUS and Scottish agriculture.
“This is their opportunity to convince members they have a role to play as we tackle the major challenges ahead.”
He added: “With Brexit decisions looming and future agricultural policy in the UK and Scotland up for debate, we need the right people in place to drive forward policies that are in the very best interests of our farmers and crofters.”
Voting to elect the two vice– presidents will take place at the union’s council meeting at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow on Friday, February.
The AGM, conference and annual dinner will be staged at the same venue the previous day.
Concerns Lochfoot farmer Andrew McCornick spoke out during a live broadcast on Monday