The National Sheep Association (NSA) has yet again called on the government to ensure that the farming industry will have tariff-free trading with the European Union post-Brexit.

The call comes after the government’s confirmation that it intends to both walk away from negotiations if a trade deal cannot be secured by October 15, and that it is seeking to use domestic legislation to render the Withdrawal Agreement null and void.

NSA chief executive Phil Stocker says a free-trade deal is vital to the sector.

He said: ““All the work that is going into developing new trade agreements outside of the EU is fine, but these cannot replace our trade volumes to the EU in the time scales we are talking about.

“Therefore, NSA is continuing to urge ministers to do whatever they can to reach a free trade deal despite the time to do this quickly disappearing.

“To walk away without a deal as Boris Johnson is suggesting he will do sooner than we may have anticipated is a worrying concern for our industry.

“The only saving grace in what we are hearing from the latest negotiations is that the UK is holding fast to go its own way with state aid, meaning that governments will have to offer support to British industries that will be affected by a no-deal Brexit.

“Our UK sheep sector is so reliant on the EU market that if things go wrong we will be expecting support to carry us through these potentially turbulent times until global markets settle down and the opportunity to re-establish our role in global trade arises once again.”