THE Tory Government are being warned not to risk Scotland's "fantastic" growth in Scotch whisky exports by leaving the single market and customs union.

Scotch whisky exports were valued at £931 million in the first quarter of 2018 – a more than 6% rise on the same period last year.

The HMRC figures also show that Europe continues to be top export market for Scotch whisky.

The SNP have now demanded the Tories not risk jeopardising the huge spike in growth by leaving the customs union and single market as part of Brexit.

SNP MSP Gail Ross said: "The sharp increase in Scotch whisky exports is fantastic news for Scotland and indeed the whole UK economy.

“The SNP Scottish Government is ambitious to grow the authentic and globally recognised Scotch whisky brand even further, underpinned by the Scotland Food and Drink Export Plan.

“But while the growing success of our food and drinks exports are something to celebrate – they further demonstrate the massive benefits we stand to lose if we are taken out of the European Union.

“Scotch whisky’s top export market is the EU – and the Westminster Government has a duty to safeguard and protect this success and the thousands of jobs it supports by remaining in the single market and customs union, which is around eight times bigger than the UK market alone.”

The party also pointed to a bilaterial trade agreement between the EU and Mexico, agreed last month, as further evidence of its worth to Scottish exports and trade.