THE European elections saw voters send three SNP MEPs to Brussels, including two new faces.
SMITH is now Scotland’s most experienced MEP following the defeat of Labour’s David Martin and the retiral of the SNP’s Ian Hudghton.
The 45-year-old was first elected to Brussels in 2004 and has been reelected at each time of asking.
Known as much for his oratory as for the eyebrow raises that punctuate it, Smith grew up between Scotland and Saudi Arabia and has urged the EU to “leave a light on” for Scotland.
THE Aberdeen City councillor and former MSP is an outspoken Europhile and French citizen who has lived in Scotland for more than 30 years.
Second on the list for the SNP, he said his election is emblematic of the country’s pro-Remain stance and outlook on migrants. “We are electing somebody who is a French citizen, not a British citizen, at the time of Brexit,” he told The National. “The people of Scotland prove it all the time – we are the type of country where it doesn’t matter where you came from.
“It’s a big message to Westminster, and to the European Parliament as well. We want to stay in the EU.
“Geographically we are on the outskirts, but Scotland again has shown that we are the heart of the EU.”
Allard says the diversity of the elected candidates “tells you something” about the nation.
They include Leave candidate Louis Stedman-Bruce of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. “Scotland is not immune to the messages of Mr Farage,” Allard said. “We are not an independent nation, we are part of the UK, we are sending MPs to Westminster. We are not immune to what’s happening there.
“Labour and the Conservatives, they don’t understand the EU, they don’t understand what it’s about. It’s about people.
“They could have shown leadership, like Nicola Sturgeon,” he says. “It’s easy to see how it’s done, I can’t understand for the life of me why Labour and the Conservative Party don’t get that kind of leadership and steer all of the UK in the right direction.”
That direction, Allard says, means protecting freedom of movement and other rights enjoyed within the European Union. “First we have to make the case for the whole of the UK to Remain in the EU – that’s the urgent part,” he says. “Then we make the case for an independent Scotland in the EU.”
A FORMER Scottish Government Environment Minister, Aileen McLeod says she is “really proud and privileged” to become the party’s third MEP.
“This is the biggest election win for any party ever seen in Scotland,” she said. “To win three out of six available seats is just fantastic. The party has made history.
“What is clear from this result is the people of Scotland have sent a really clear message to Westminster – Scotland rejects Brexit and we reject it emphatically.”
Also a former head of policy to Alyn Smith, McLeod, who is originally from East Kilbride, will now count her former boss as a colleague.
She is also the second SNP woman ever to be elected to the European Parliament. Her success comes 20 years after the first – Winnie Ewing, who earned the nickname Madame Ecosse – left Brussels.
With a focus on the environment and the economy, McLeod – who believes those in rural communities have “realised the damage Brexit will do to the rural economy – says her election is testament to the hard work of her entire party, which she says “offered a clear message of hope and ambition”.
“We sent a very clear message to Brussels,” she says. “We see ourselves as a European nation, we see our future in the European Union. We are the only place in the UK where the Brexit Party lost the election.
“Labour and the Tories were hopelessly divided and have failed to stand up for Scotland’s interests.
“The result is a clear rejection of Ruth Davidson’s anti-independence message. She has presided over one of the worst results in her party’s history. Labour have continued their downward spiral with less than 10% of the vote.
“We want to make sure European legislation works for Scotland. there are big decisions facing the EU around the environment and the budget.”