SCORES of Scotland’s most high- profile academics and politicians have called for last year’s Brexit vote to be overturned as “its disastrous consequences become clearer every day”.

Senior figures from the worlds of politics, business, academia and the arts have signed a landmark letter to The Herald breaking a fragile consensus accepting the referendum.

Big political names on the letter include former Labour first minister Henry McLeish; his Liberal Democrat deputy Jim Wallace; SNP MEP Alyn Smith; and former Tory MEP Struan Stevenson.

They are backed by a Who’s Who of Scotland’s intellectual elite, including historians Sir Tom Devine and Chris Smout; former chief medical officer Sir Harry Burns; scientist and Aberdeen University vice-principal Dame Anne Glover; distinguished international jurist Sir David Edward; businessman and diplomat Lord John Kerr; and trade union leader Grahame Smith.

Former First Minister Henry McLeish

HeraldScotland: CRITICAL: Henry McLeish

The ground-breaking intervention comes as David Davis came under a double attack as rancour broke out within the Brexit movement.

Dominic Cummings, the former Vote Leave campaign chief, unleashed a tirade of criticism on Twitter against the Brexit Secretary, branding him “thick as mince, lazy as a toad and vain as Narcissus”.

Mr Davis was also condemned for turning up for a second round of talks with his EU counterpart Michel Barnier declaring they were now “getting into the substance of the matter” but leaving after just three hours.

READ MORE: The Herald letter in full

Today’s open letter comes amid growing concern at home and abroad the UK economy is already suffering from crippling uncertainty over its future relationship with its biggest trading partner.

The signatories wrote: “We see our society, economy and politics becoming ever more undermined due to the impact of Brexit.

“We recognise a narrow majority voted to leave the European Union, but the disastrous consequences are now becoming ever clearer – every day.

“Even before the UK has left the EU, we face falling living standards, rising inflation, slowing growth and lower productivity. In a democracy, it is always possible to think again and choose a different direction.

“We need to think again about Brexit, to have a UK-wide debate about calling a halt to the process and changing our minds.”

Dame Anne Glover

HeraldScotland: Dame Anne Glover, former chief scientific adviser to the Scottish Government

The letter represents a significant challenge to both Labour and the Conservatives at Westminster. The SNP and the Liberal Democrats have both opposed Brexit staunchly, with the latter party calling for a second referendum.

But both Prime Minister Theresa May and Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn have accepted the result of the Brexit vote even as public and academic doubts grew.

Earlier this month, veteran Labour MEP David Martin told The Herald his party should be the vehicle to stop Brexit. Mr Martin has signed today’s letter as have former Labour cabinet ministers Helen Liddell and George Robertson and their fellow peer George Foulkes.

It came after former prime minister Tony Blair this weekend suggested it was “possible’ Brexit would not happen. Westminster sources have suggested there are now Conservative ministers who feel the same.

The first Tory to break ranks on the issue was former MEP Struan Mr Stevenson, who last week in this newspaper revealed his desire for a rethink amid evidence leaving the EU will put up barriers to Scottish farm exports while a potential US trade deal opens up Scotland to imports of cheap, low-quality American beef and chicken.

Former Scottish Secretary Helen Liddell

HeraldScotland: Baroness Helen Liddell

English academics this week warned Brexit marked a serious threat to Britain’s food security with 80 per cent of vegetables and 40 per cent of fruit being imported. Tim Lang of City University, described the situation as a “serious policy failure on an unprecedented scale”. His concerns over food security echo those of Professor David Bell of Stirling University and farming experts who warned of similar problems earlier this summer.

Mr Bell is one of several academic experts on the EU, its laws and economic impact, to sign today’s letter. Others include Kirsty Hughes of the Scottish Centre on European Relations; and Professors Jo Shaw, Andrew Scott and Christina Boswell of Edinburgh University.

READ MORE: Kenny MacAskill asks who will step up to the plate to avert disaster in Europe.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Exiting the European Union said: “In one of the biggest democratic exercises in our history, the British people voted to leave the European Union. The Government is committed to delivering on that mandate, by building a new deep and special partnership with our closest allies and neighbours in Europe.

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