A PROTEST aimed at encouraging shoppers at one of the UK’s largest supermarkets to support Scottish producers was received “very positively” with leaflets being exhausted in just two hours, its organiser has said.

Paul Newton, an activist involved with Yes Marchmont and Morningside, told The National he had been motivated to protest outside the Morrisons in Edinburgh after seeing a tweet about how its manager had treated a member of the public who raised concerns about visible support for Scottish producers in the store.

The tweet claimed the site’s manager had told the member of the public to “take your custom elsewhere and don’t come back” after concerns were raised about the weight given to British flags against “pictorial support for Scottish farmers”.

READ MORE: Retailers blame Brexit as food shortages sweep across Scotland's stores

Newton said he initially questioned the veracity of the story, but had it confirmed to him by multiple sources, including the Morrisons staff he spoke to before setting up his stall.

He told The National that this incident, compounded with long-held concerns about “excessive Union Jackery” and the “mislabelling” of Scottish products as British, led him to protest.

Newton set up a stall showcasing Scottish produce branded with the Saltire and urged shoppers to consider purchasing these ahead of rival products. He said the reception was “very positive”, especially among young Scots and Europeans, and that he ran out of flyers in just two hours.

He went on: “I did it because of the incident, but the exercise was not to tell people about the incident but to tell them about Scotland the brand and ask them to support Scottish producers.

“It’s important for a couple of reasons, the first one is the Scottish brand is perceived worldwide to be of high value, to be ethically produced ... It has its reputation in terms of whisky, salmon, Aberdeen Angus beef.

“Our problem is this is because strong standards have been applied over the years to create that reputation, and since Brexit those standards are going to change.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson Covid conferences criticised by Lords over Union Jackery

“Now, rather than Scottish suppliers getting their share of the market that they worked hard for, the British Government has done a deal with Australia to bring in cheap Australian beef and this is undermining Scottish farmers and it’s undermining the integrity of the Scottish brand.

“I want people to recognise the Scottish branding, appreciate and purchase it, because that increases the support/revenue for the Scottish suppliers and means that we can maintain our integrity in a land of ever decreasing standards.”

MSPs including the SNP’s Jim Fairlie have warned that the UK’s trade deal with Australia will lead to Scots producers being undercut by cheap imports and run out of business. Buying Scottish may help to alleviate any impact of the deal.

Morrisons declined to comment.