ALISTER Jack has been told to apologise to the people of Scotland for the "unmitigated disaster" of Brexit as he faced angry MPs in the Commons.

SNP frontbencher Pete Wishart demanded the apology from the Cabinet minister as he highlighted labour shortages in the wake of the UK's departure from the European Union, which he said had left empty supermarket shelves and food rotting in Scottish fields.

"Brexit has been nothing other than unmitigated disaster for Scotland. Food shortages, labour shortages, businesses unable to export their products and we now have food rotting in the fields," said Wishart, who represents Perth and North Perthshire.

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"Rather than the mealy mouthed nonsense, he gets to his feet and apologises to the people of Scotland for dragging our country out of the European Union against its national collective will."

Jack refused to apologise and accused Wishart of "talking down Scotland" – a charge normally levelled by SNP politicians to their pro-Union counterparts.

"I simply don't recognise what the honourable gentleman is saying," the Tory minister said. "We've been through a pandemic and it's far too early to say what any impacts are, to make predictions but what we know is our economy is growing. We are doing fantastic trade deals around the world, and they are going to benefit the Scottish economy, Scottish food and drink.

"He [Wishart] just needs to get positive about that. Stop talking down Scotland, stop talking down Scotland and start to get optimistic about the opportunities that we face."

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Scotland voted by 62% to 38% to remain in the EU with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urging the UK Government to pursue a compromise after the vote for the whole of the UK to remain in the single market and customs union.

However, her suggestions were dismissed with the UK pulling out of both. Now for Scotland to return to the EU it will need to be independent.

Earlier at Scottish Questions in the Commons Mhairi Black, the SNP’s Scotland spokeswoman, accused the Scottish Secretary of living in an “alternative reality” over Brexit.

She told the Commons that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has “projected the UK’s economy will be 4% lower because of Brexit” while HMRC has found “Scottish exporters were actually higher last year during the height of the pandemic than they are this year after Brexit”.

Black said: “This means Brexit is having a worse impact on Scottish exports than the pandemic has.”

After being asked why he supported Brexit, Jack replied: “The OBR prediction actually was for economic growth to be 4% in March. The reality is they have corrected that prediction for economic growth to be 6.5% in 2021 and 6% in 2022.

“And actually our economy is recovering strongly and is the fastest-growing economy in the G7.”

Black replied: “This alternative reality is an international embarrassment.”