Scotland in Europe Update: 26th April 2019

Firstly, I want to thank all of those SNP Delegates who voted to rank our candidates for the European Election. We have a great list and I am thrilled and honoured to be the lead candidate.

Which brings me to the most important thing. Whatever happens next, simply that we are participating in European Parliament elections is a triumph. It is also one that the Tory party will, if they get their way, take away from us before it takes place. However, assuming a democratic event does take place on the 23rd May we all have a duty to vote.

The 7th May is the deadline you need to register by. Don’t delay, check today! You can get specific advice on how to check you're registered in your part of Scotland by entering your postcode at Alternatively visit to register online.

If you’re an EU National living in the UK, or a UK national living in the EU, there’s a nifty interactive tool which will give you advice on how to vote:

Your eligibility may have changed compared to 2014, so please check!

As for me, alongside my duties as an MEP I’ll be out on the campaign trail over the next few weeks. I’ll still keep you up to date each week because no doubt Westminster will be restarting its circus over the coming days.

Remember, the Brexit process won’t stop until we stop it.



Nicola Sturgeon has laid out to the Scottish Parliament her plans for the future. If Brexit is delivered, we need to have a referendum on Scotland’s future. As she said: “With all of our assets and talents, Scotland should be a thriving and driving force within Europe. Instead we face being forced to the margins – side-lined within a UK that is, itself, increasingly side-lined on the international stage. Independence, by contrast, would allow us to protect our place in Europe.”

Dr Aileen McLeod – a fellow SNP candidate in the European elections – wrote a powerful piece on this in the National. “Soon Scotland will face a choice – either to be a marginalised part of a marginalised country or to have an independent voice in the EU family of nations, that not only protects our economic and social interests, but allows us to shape our own destiny.”

Holyrood magazine have kindly done a longer piece about my time as an MEP. We are not done yet – Brexit’s end could be the start of Scotland in Europe.

Theresa May promised another vote on the Withdrawal Agreement before the English local elections, but then changed her mind.

The Farmer’s Guardian did a good round the houses on the positions the various parties are taking on Brexit and agriculture. As I said: “one of the best things we can do for agriculture is stop Brexit”

The UK Government has invited Donald Trump for a state visit during which they hope to discuss trade and investment. Whereas through the EU we have managed to protect Scotland from hostile trade deals, the UK Government will simply sell us out.

I echo many of the sentiments in this piece by Professor Anand Menon. The awkward truth is that a Norway Brexit almost certainly wouldn’t work.

Dr Kirsty Hughes has written a good piece on the mechanics of an independent Scotland joining the EU. She is right, there will be substantive issues to negotiate but “as long as Scotland had not diverged from the EU’s rulebook, relatively rapid accession talks could be envisaged.”

The Institute for Government have put together a handy guide to the Labour and Conservative positions. Remember, they agree on nearly everything. The differences are minor and Labour's demands would not be accepted by the EU.

I share many of the concerns of Professor Chris Grey too. Currently it seems that Westminster will simply squander the extension period that the EU has given us.

The European Parliament has launched a campaign video as part of a huge awareness-raising drive to boost participation in the upcoming 23-26 May elections.

Finally, my National column this week addresses tactical voting in the European Parliament Elections. I don’t ever advocate tactical voting and in this election especially. Let us be clear: there is no reason to vote for other smaller parties to keep Ukip or the Brexit Party out.