Scotland in Europe Update: 22nd May 2019

Yesterday Theresa May unveiled a contradictory and undeliverable ten-point plan to try and secure Brexit for the Tories. In contrast the SNP offer simple plan: Stop Brexit and protect Scotland’s Place in Europe. You can read our full manifesto here: Continue reading

Scotland in Europe Update: 17th May 2019

So here we are, Theresa May’s deal will apparently face one last vote without any chance of success, and then she will stepdown (or so she says). Frankly, the odds of the deal passing seem vanishingly small, and either way the Tories are now looking at who will succeed her when (and if) she goes. It is worth remembering that Scotland did not vote for this. The Scottish Parliament has never given consent for Brexit. Scotland voted to Remain. Scotland has certainly never given its consent for a Brexit driven by Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. Continue reading

Scotland in Europe Update: 10th May 2019

On 7 May 2019 the UK Government finally confirmed that elections for the European Parliament will be held in Scotland on 23 May 2019. No ifs or buts, we are having a European This means that a further six MEPs will be elected to represent Scotland. MEPs are elected by a form of proportional representation. Voters get to choose which party they want to support, and the number of MEPs each party gets is then calculated using a formula called d'Hondt. Remember, you vote once, for the party on the list. We've a handy explainer of this at: Continue reading

Scotland in Europe Update: 3rd May 2019

As I write the local election results in England are coming through and to me it is clear is that it has been a bad day for the pro-Brexit parties (Tory/Ukip) and the fudgy Brexit party (Labour). The parties that are vocally pro-EU (Greens/Liberal Democrats) did the best. There is a clear and obvious pattern here. Anybody who interprets these results as pro-Brexit is either dishonest or just plain wrong. So one election down, on to the next one. The European Parliamentary elections. People have been asking me if the election will happen, and what happens if it does. I’m now convinced that it is happening. There was a time, recently, when I thought that Brexiter Corbyn and born-again Leaver May would between them find a form of words to get her disastrous Withdrawal Agreement over the line. Continue reading

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 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. Continue reading

Scotland in Europe Update: 19th April 2019

This was the final Strasbourg session of this parliamentary term and an important one. As I have joked more than once, I have had more farewell addresses than the Rolling Stones! In my speech to Parliament, I called for international observers for the European elections because the Leave campaigns broke the law and I don’t doubt they’ll do it again. Continue reading

Scotland in Europe Update: 12th April 2019

It has been another long week but at the end of it another so-called ‘Brexit Day’ has been and gone. Scotland is still in the EU! Theresa May went to Brussels and came back with an extension until Halloween. The EU has again shown itself to be a mature body of compromise. Although the frustration in Brussels is palpable, all the countries were looking for the best way to help the UK. But the situation in Westminster is so confused that there was significant debate about the best way to do that. After discussion they compromised, and the deadline of October 31 was set. Politics the mature, European way. This is not my dream – of revoking Article 50 – but it is far from a Halloween nightmare. I must confess, at times I have felt I am in some bad science fiction novel: partially existing in about three, maybe four, parallel universes. There is the universe where we won the independence referendum; the one where Cameron did not make is disastrous gamble to have an EU referendum; the one where May got her deal through the Commons and we left the EU on March 29; and now there’s the one where an EU election takes place in Scotland on May 23. There’s also the one where May still manages to get her deal through and the elections are cancelled. Continue reading

Scotland in Europe Update: 5th April 2019

After this week, my dismay for Westminster is verging on disgust. I am sickened by the vain, shallow, self-regarding antics we’ve seen coming out of that place. I know there’s a lot of decent sorts in there trying to fix this – as appalled as I am by where they are – but they’re pushing against a boulder of intransigence. They're also trying to do the impossible: make a success of Brexit. This week began with MPs having non-binding votes on various future options, floundered in the middle – with MPs narrowly passing a mechanism to stop no-deal which won’t stop no-deal – and ended with Corbyn and May locked in a room trying to decide the fate of Scotland’s EU membership. Continue reading

Scotland in Europe Update: 29th March 2019

This week has been tough. I confess I have been dreading it for months, wondering how I would feel when on the 29 March at 12pm (Brussels time, not UK time) we were dragged out of the EU against Scotland’s will. Throughout the process there have been so many folk pretending it’s inevitable, or just resigned to it, despondent. Yet here we are, the time has passed and yet the SNP’s MEPs are still here at our posts. Well, this is far from over folks. Theresa May’s deal was defeated again this afternoon and now the only sensible choice is to revoke Article 50 and take the irresponsible threat of no deal off the table. This week was also potentially my last Plenary session in Strasbourg. As I said to my fellow MEPs, there are a lot of us in Scotland and across the UK, working hard to turn this round, to serve our citizens, to remain within this family of nations. Continue reading

Scotland in Europe Update: 22nd March 2019

Well, after a late night in Brussels the EU has made a decision for the UK. We will not leave the EU on 29 March since a short extension to Article 50 has been agreed to. The terms of this are clear: If the House of Commons agrees to pass Theresa May’s deal next week the extension will last until the 22 May. If the House of Commons does not pass the deal, then Article 50 will be extended until 12 April by which point the UK is expected to tell the EU what it wishes to do next. You can read the full conclusions What does this all mean? Well the good news is that unless the UK unilaterally does something inexplicable then we will not be facing a no deal scenario in one week’s time. The bad news is that otherwise nothing has changed. The options remain the same: either accept May's deal, no deal or revoke Article 50. The road is a little longer now but we’re still running out of it. The cliff edge, iceberg, your-other-metaphor-of-choice is looming. Continue reading