SNP Euro-MP's on constitution

12 January 2005
SNP MEPs Ian Hudghton MEP and Alyn Smith MEP today voted against the European Parliament's report on the draft EU Constitution. Ian Hudghton and Alyn Smith were the only two out of seven Scots Euro-MPs to take part in the debate.

Both condemned the London-led parties for voting in favour of giving complete control of fisheries to Brussels. During a European Parliament vote on the proposed EU Constitution, the UK Tory, Lib Dem and Labour members voted against an SNP-backed proposal which would have removed fisheries management from the list of exclusive EU powers.

The SNP proposal received support from every political group in the European Parliament. The vote comes only days after the Tories claimed that they would campaign for an end to the CFP.

Speaking from Strasbourg, Ian Hudghton MEP said:

"The decision by all three London-led parties to vote against the interests of Scotland's fishing communities is perhaps not surprising. The rank hypocrisy of the Tories and Liberals should however be commented upon.

"In today's important parliamentary vote on the EU Constitution, the SNP called for recognition that handing complete control of fisheries over to Brussels is 'anomalous and unjustified'.

Only last year the Lib Dems tabled a text in the European Parliament using exactly the same words - and only two days ago the Tories claimed that they would end the CFP.

"Both parties however have reneged on their previous commitments. The SNP uses every opportunity it has to stand up for Scotland's fishermen. Unfortunately the London-based parties continue to give fishing a low priority."

Euro-MPs were voting on a favourable European Parliament report on the EU Constitution - effectively giving a nod of approval from the Parliament to the controversial treaty. Both SNP MEPs called for the constitution to be renegotiated after failing to secure changes to the document on fishing and relations with the Scottish Parliament. The report was passed by 500 votes to 137 with 40 abstentions, with a majority of Scots MEPs voting against.

Commenting on the outcome of the vote, Alyn Smith MEP said:

"The Scottish Parliament is the only body responsible for Justice, the Environment, Education, Health and many other areas of Scottish life, yet the provisions in the treaty to bring it into the EU law making process are wholly inadequate.

This constitution will not sufficiently improve EU law making for Scotland. More to the point this constitution does not take account of the dignity of my country and we will therefore vote against.

Today's vote will delight the pro-integrationists in Europe, though I do not believe the Parliament has reflected the will of the peoples of Europe. It will set the Constitution up for an even heavier fall when it is rejected by the people in a referendum."