A conservative MEP believes that farmers need a reliable scheme for seasonal workers, else produce harvesting may suffer post-Brexit.

Anthea McIntyre, conservative MEP for the West Midlands, made the claim at a recent agricultural conference in Worcester, on the future of farming in post-Brexit Britain.

Ms McIntyre said Horticulture was a key contributor to the UK economy, contributing 18 per cent of the country's agriculture income from three per cent of the land.

But labour is a key challenge, and the availability of seasonal labour from the EU was a concern following the referendum vote.

Ms McIntyre said: "We have more than 80,000 seasonal workers in the UK, which we need to get our crops picked.

"We can't let ourselves be told that we can have British labour doing the work. With record levels of employment we don't have the people, our growers have tried that and it won't work."

Speaking on the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme, Ms McIntyre said: "We valued the scheme. People came here, did the work required and they went home again.

"They did not contribute to immigration figures. It worked, and we should look to introduce something similar after Brexit as soon as possible."

The Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme operated from 1948 until the end of 2013 and allowed migrant farm workers to enter Britain for a maximum of six months.

The conference, held by the National Farmers Union, and Ms McIntyre's fellow West Midlands MEP Daniel Dalton, attracted 150 farmers and agriculture specialists to the Sixways Stadium in Worcester.