ALISTER Jack should be “standing up for the people of Scotland” by stopping a hard Brexit and not supporting Boris Johnson to deliver one.

The exhortation has come from Labour’s Ian Murray, who was responding to the Scottish Secretary’s declaration that Brexit offered Scotland an “historic opportunity”.

Mr Jack hailed the Prime Minister's plan for Britain to leave the EU on October 31 as a chance to introduce new farm funding.

He promised to "help the Prime Minister deliver Brexit" and "sweep away the cloud of uncertainty that has been hanging over us".

As well as farming, the Dumfries and Galloway MP used an article in The Times to focus on fishing and the European Court of Justice.

"When the UK leaves the EU, Scotland will finally take back control of Scottish fishing waters, among the richest in the northern hemisphere. And once we are out of the EU, we will have a historic opportunity to introduce new farming funding schemes to support Scottish farmers and we will make sure that they get a better deal.”

The Secretary of State also said that by strengthening the Union, “by showing the many advantages of belonging to the UK, we will also lift the second cloud of uncertainty facing Scotland, the First Minister's threat of a second independence referendum”.

He added: "That is a brighter vision than narrow, angry nationalism can offer. And it is why I am certain we can, and will, make a winning case for the union in the months and years ahead."

But Mr Murray, who represents Edinburgh South, speaking on behalf of the pro-EU Best for Britain, said: “Brexit does not offer an ‘opportunity’ for Scotland; it is a historic threat to our economy, to the Union, and to opportunities for Scots.

“The Scottish Secretary should not be helping the Prime Minister deliver Brexit, he should be standing up for the people of Scotland and fighting a damaging hard Brexit that puts jobs and our country at risk,” he added.

Mr Jack also launched an attack on Scottish nationalism.

He wrote: "Scottish Nationalists like to claim theirs is a different kind of nationalism, somehow uniquely benign. I am sorry but I am not sure I can spot the difference.

"Like Nationalist movements the world over, it requires an enemy to make it thrive. It needs another to rail against. It's all about finding something at which to take offence, so they pick fights about flags on packaging, scour news bulletins for examples of imaginary bias."

Tommy Sheppard, the SNP backbencher, hit back, saying the Scottish Secretary’s comments showed just how “out of touch” he was with ordinary people’s lives.

Responding to Mr Jack’s attack on Scottish Nationalism, the Edinburgh East MP said: “His comments are completely undermined by the fact they come on the day it has emerged a senior Tory activist has been suspended for the most sickening, vile comments on social media."