NFUS President Uses AGM Speech to Highlight Brexit Concerns

A ‘no deal’ Brexit is not an option for Scottish farmers and crofters, according to President Andrew McCornick

As President Andrew McCornick welcomed members and guests to this year’s NFU Scotland AGM, Conference and Council, the fast-approaching Brexit date on 29 March topped the agenda. 

The Union’s position on Brexit has remained unchanged since the vote in 2016, that any Brexit must have a deal with the EU. A ‘no deal’ Brexit with no trade deals and no labour movements from the EU would be catastrophic for Scotland’s farmers and crofters.
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 these Brexit negotiations.
In his speech, President Andrew McCornick said: “A ‘no deal’ means a ‘hard Brexit’ and this means the UK falling out of Europe on 30 March 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 per cent.

“We must be sensible in what trade-offs we do. Europe can and will be brutal. 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.
“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.”

Notes to Editor
• Photographs of Andrew McCornick at the AGM will be available on request from

• NFU Scotland’s AGM, Annual Dinner and Conference is held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow on Thursday 7 and Friday 8 February 2019. 

• Photographs from the event will also be available on request from 

Date Published:

News Article No.: 11/19

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