The National Farmers Union (NFU) of Scotland has accused Douglas Ross of misleading the Scottish public on food standards – and the SNP has demanded that the Scottish Tory leader apologise to farmers.

Ross was on Good Morning Scotland earlier today when he was challenged on his voting record on post-Brexit trade. This included his vote against Clause 11 in the UK’s Trade Bill which sought to protect high food standards in the UK and prevent produce such as chlorinated chicken from being sold in Britain. Campaigners say that a US-UK trade will flood British markets with lower quality food and goods.

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Ross defended himself by saying that NFU Scotland's policy director, Jonnie Hall had told him that no MP had voted to reduce animal welfare or biosecurity standards.

But Hall hit back later on BBC Scotland Drivetime in which he claimed to be “fuming” with the comments made by Ross.

BBC host John Beattie played Hall’s angry remarks on the show.

Hall said: “I was fuming at the time and I remained very concerned that an honest and very straightforward answer to a question has basically turned 180 degrees to misrepresent a situation where I think people are being mislead.”

The SNP has consistently warned that a Tory post-Brexit trade deal with the US which could result in a major rolling back of food quality in the UK. 

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Dave Doogan MP, the SNP's Agriculture and Rural Affairs spokesperson, said: "This is not just embarrassing for the Scottish Tory leader, it is yet another sign of the Tories' sheer contempt for Scotland's vital agriculture sector.

"The fact that NFU Scotland's policy director has had to come out and call out Douglas Ross over his remarks and state that the Scottish Tory leader has misled the public is damning.

“Mr Ross must now publicly apologise to Scotland’s farmers for twisting their words, and to the Scottish public for trying to mislead them over this crucial issue.

"While SNP MPs voted to uphold the high standards currently in place on food and agricultural produce, Douglas Ross and his Scottish Tory colleagues followed the instructions of their Westminster bosses and voted to remove that safety net to maintain those high standards under any future trade deal.”

The National columnist Lesley Riddoch tweeted: “Who’s advising Scots Torp MPs on radio interviews? John Lamont just bit John Beattie’s heid off for asking perfectly reasonable questions after Ross the Boss deliberately misconstrued Jonnie Hall. Are these the habits they pick up in Mordor.”

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes added that the exchanges were “remarkable”. She added: “Farmers are right to demand high food standards, but they've been let down completely by Conservatives who voted against that and are now misrepresenting their position.”

And Pete Wishart said: “The new Scottish Conservative leader’s day just went from bad to worse. They’re going to need another motorway lane.....”