BRANDISHING a Union Jack and clad in tartan, they left the European Parliament in shambolic procession behind an out-of-tune piper playing Scotland the Brave.

"We did it, we did it," the Brexit Party MEPs congratulated each other as they headed "back to London". "I'm exhausted," said one. "It's been a hard battle."

During their six-month stint in Brussels, Nigel Farage's party managed to lose its sole Scottish MEP. Louis Stedman-Bryce quit in a row over the selection of candidates for December's snap General Election and served out his term as an independent.

But the assembled European journalists would have been forgiven for thinking the party really did represent Scotland as they were led into the Place du Luxembourg by a piper.

Images of the scene were used by several European media outlets to tell audiences in their countries about the UK crash-out.

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The unknown man, who played tunes including A Scottish Soldier and Scotland the Brave, walked in front of a kilted Brian Monteith, the Edinburgh-born MEP for North East England, and a tartan coat-wearing Claire Fox, who was elected in the English North West.

Scotland's trad and folk musicians were unimpressed. Treacherous Orchestra piper Ali Hutton said he was "howling" and Malinky's Mark Dunlop suggested the stuttered serenade, including bum notes and missed beats, may have been the result of "deliberate sabotage".

His bandmate Steve Byrne said: "He’s not a piper, alas. He’s a guy with a set of pipes.”

And Gaelic singer Eilidh Cormack, one third of trio SIAN, simply commented "hoooooly moly" on viewing footage posted online.

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Hutton – known for his quick, skilful play – called the whole thing “very odd”, questioning whether someone had “stuck a badge on him” to “make it look like Scotland are behind this stupidity”.

He went on: “He’s clearly an amateur, you can tell that by the playing and the tuning of the instrument – not very good at all.

“Most musicians and pipers I know are against Brexit. I certainly would have – not very politely – told them to ‘f**k off’.”

The National asked the Brexit Party who the piper was and what message was being sent.

A press officer responded: "I’m pretty sure the bagpipe bloke just happened to be there."