Alyn Smith MEP To Stand In European Elections 2009

13 May 2008
"I hope to continue fighting for Scotland in Europe."

SNP Member of the European Parliament Mr Alyn Smith has been given the green light to represent the SNP again in the 2009 European elections and will be a candidate in those elections.

Unlike other parties the SNP has no presumption of incumbency giving any benefits to prospective candidates, Mr Smith was approved as candidate by a backed and buoyant Spring conference in Edinburgh along with 6 other candidates. All members of the party will receive a postal ballot in the Autumn to decide the order of candidates which will be put to the voters of Scotland in the elections next year.

Since being elected in 2004, Alyn has brought a hard-working, unstuffy and dynamic approach to European politics, covering issues from EU funding, agriculture, energy policy and transport policy to lighter ways to bring Europe home like promoting town twinning, seeking EU protection for kilts and even the campaign for a Scottish entry to the eurovision song contest!

He is Scotland's only full member of the European Parliament's powerful Agriculture Committee, and works hard with all farming organisations to get the best deal for Scotland. Jim McLaren, President of NFU Scotland, has said: "Alyn is a real ally on the Agriculture Committee." Alyn's contribution to agriculture was recognised earlier this year when he was made Honorary President of the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group Scotland, an organisation which advises farmers across Scotland on implementing environmental schemes.

Alyn is Scotland's youngest MEP, and each year embarks on his infamous "work experience" for the first two weeks of summer recess, which has seen him get his hands dirty working on a trawler in the Minch, in farms across Scotland, old folks homes, restaurants, biotech labs and a plethora of other industries of real relevance to Scotland.

Looking forward to the campaign, Mr Smith said:

"It has been my honour to represent Scotland since 2004, and we have had some real achievements I am intensely proud of.

"It takes a few years to learn this job, and I now feel I am hitting my stride, and I have a real contribution to make to Scotland's place in the world and a proven track record of achievement even after the few years I have been elected.

"I thought long and hard about whether I should put myself forward again as I think all politicians should regularly assess, within their own heads at least, whether they are pushing the agenda or just making up the numbers. I came to the conclusion that I still have a lot to give, and the European campaign in 2009 could be the SNP's best result ever yet and I want to be part of it.

"I have put together a first class team and we have worked across the country and the party to maximise the case for Scotland. With some real results. From fighting for and winning EU funding for projects across Scotland, to winning the ban on substandard Brazilian beef into the EU, to bringing the top man in EU energy policy to Scotland to setting up the only internship programme run by any Scots MEP to doing politics differently with the work experience each year and even the eurovision song contest, on balance I'm proud of my record and look forward to the elections. I have even put down more Parliamentary Questions than any other Scots MEP.

"The people of Scotland like what the SNP government in Edinburgh is doing, and the SNP works as a team across all chambers and Parliaments. But we are not just preparing Scotland for independence, we need to prepare Europe for Scotland. My job is to win friends for the party and the country by being credible, sensible and constructive. I think have done just that, and relish our prospects in 2009."