THE Prime Minister's pledge to "walk away" from Brexit negotiations if a trade deal cannot be reached has caused concern in the sheep industry.

Talks between the UK and the EU are reported to be in deadlock, and Boris Johnson has urged the trading bloc to "rethink their positions" in order to strike a deal.

But the National Sheep Association has once again stressed the importance of future tariff-free EU trade for the UK's sheep industry.

NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker claimed it was a worrying time for the industry, which is reliant on EU trade.

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 Mr 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 the 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.”