Meet the SNP’s Candidates for Europe
The SNP’s six candidates – three men and three women – are led by Alyn Smith, who has been an MEP since 2004. Christian Allard, who was born in France, is second on the list of candidates, followed by the party’s former environment minister Aileen McLeod, ex-Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP Margaret Ferrier, Scottish Borders councillor Heather Anderson, and SNP national executive committee member Alex Kerr.
Born in Glasgow in 1973, Alyn grew up in Scotland and Saudi Arabia, returning to Scotland in 1986. He studied Law and European Law at Leeds University and spent an Erasmus year studying at Heidelberg in Germany. He graduated from Nottingham Law School in 1996. Alyn also gained a Masters degree in European Studies from the College of Europe in Warsaw. After a year teaching English in India and working with Scotland Europa in Brussels, Alyn moved to London where he qualified as a lawyer with commercial law firm Clifford Chance.
In 2000 Alyn moved back to Scotland, first working for a legal firm in Edinburgh, then from 2002 for Richard Lochhead MSP, then the SNP Group at Holyrood as an adviser on Europe, Justice and Business policies.
Alyn was elected to the European Parliament for the first time in 2004 and has been re-elected twice in the SNP victories in the 2009 and 2014 elections. He is a member of the SNP’s National Executive Committee and the Party’s Policy Development Convenor.
In 2018, Alyn was one of a group of six cross-party parliamentarians who successfully took the UK Government to the European Court of Justice to obtain a ruling regarding whether Article 50 could be revoked unilaterally.
In the European Parliament, he is a full member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. He is also a full member of both the Delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula, and the Delegation for relations with Iraq.
Alyn is the Honorary Vice President of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Scotland’s animal welfare charity. The post is voluntary and unpaid.
Originally from a farming background in rural Burgundy in France, Christian left secondary education to work as a delivery driver, then a long distance HGV driver. He also served in the French armed forces for a year in Germany.
Christian’s journey from a New Scot to a passionate SNP representative started 35 years ago. He arrived in Scotland with the intention to stay only a few years before leaving to travel the world. He says: ‘First I fell in love with my wife, then I fell in love with Scotland. Now with 3 children and 4 grandchildren, I’m still here.’
25 years ago, Christian’s young family moved from Glasgow to Aberdeen where he bought and sold seafood and exported fresh fish across Europe. With his experience, Christian began to get involved with the politics around fishing. He also got involved in his local community and served as a community councillor for many years, before joining the SNP.
In 2013, Christian put his name forward for the 2014 European Elections just before he was called to serve as a Member of the Scottish Parliament for the North-East region. He served 3 years in the Scottish Parliament. He is currently an elected councillor at Aberdeen City Council representing the ward of Torry and Ferryhill.
Ensuring that Scotland’s rural and fishing communities are getting all the support they need to thrive was a major part of Christian’s work as an MSP. Representing a diverse community in Aberdeen today, Christian understands the complex challenges that Brexit is bringing to Scotland.
Born in 1971, Aileen grew up in East Kilbride. She now lives in Lanark with her husband. Aileen attended the University of Edinburgh, where she graduated in 1993 with a degree in German and European Community Studies.
On leaving University Aileen specialised in EU policy – first as a researcher in the EuroInfo Centre in Glasgow then, between 2001 and 2004, as Senior Research Specialist on Europe in the Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre. Aileen joined the SNP and between 2004 and 2009 and was Head of Policy for Alyn Smith MEP, based in the European Parliament in Brussels.
In the 2009 European Parliamentary elections Aileen was selected to stand on the SNP list, and narrowly missed securing an historic third SNP seat. Aileen decided to return to Scotland and from 2009-2011 worked as a Parliamentary assistant for Michael Russell.
In 2011 Aileen stood in the elections to the Scottish Parliament and was returned as a regional list SNP MSP for South Scotland. In the Parliament she served on the European and External Relations Committee, as well as the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee, the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee, and the Health and Sport Committee. She was appointed EU Reporter on each of the three subject parliamentary committees, where she led on EU issues on behalf of those committees.
In November 2014, Aileen was privileged to be appointed by the First Minister to serve as Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform in the Scottish Government.
In that role she worked intensively in developing and implementing Government policy across a wide range of issues. Aileen also represented the Scottish Government, and Scotland’s European and international interests, on environmental and climate change issues at EU Environment Councils. In addition, Aileen represented the Scottish Government at the United Nations Climate Change Conferences in Lima (2014) and in Paris (2015).
Margaret’s political experience includes being the former MP for Rutherglen & Hamilton West, Shadow Spokesperson for the Scotland Office, and a Member of Scottish Affairs Committee.
She is a current member of the SNP’s National Executive Committee and Campaign Committee. She is an elected Community Councillor and a highly visible and tireless campaigner for the SNP and Scottish independence.
With such a short window of opportunity to make an impact in the European Union, Margaret believes her experience, work ethic and record at Westminster would be invaluable in making Scotland’s voice heard.
Margaret says: ‘If elected, I would work with the same vigour and passion I have shown in all my political dealings to ensure that Scotland continues to be a recognisable force within the European Union.’
Margaret’s particular areas of interest are human rights, nuclear disarmament, consumer protection and animal welfare. She is pro-European and if elected will be a strong voice for Scotland in Brussels and Strasbourg.
As well as being Deputy Leader of the SNP group on Scottish Borders Council, Heather is an organic farmer with an organic farm shop and butchery.
As someone who works every day to grow and sell good, clean food directly to people, Heather is acutely aware of the crucial role the EU play in protecting animal welfare standards, keeping air and water clean, maintaining high-quality food standards and generally working to protect family farms across Europe and support more sustainable farming.
Heather believes Scottish farming benefits in three key ways from Europe: it receives direct financial support; it has tariff free access to one of the largest markets in the world for beef, lamb, whisky, and it protects Scotland from food imports that don’t meet the right standards.
Heather is also passionate about Scotland playing a constructive role in the development and reform of the European Union and ultimately wants to see Scotland taking her own seat at the table as an independent European nation.
Heather lives in rural Scotland where she is acutely aware of the demographic challenges facing the community, as well as the potential impact of leaving the European Union.
Alex was born and raised in Shettleston in Glasgow and has lived in the East End of Glasgow his whole life. He worked in call centres before studying Electronic Engineering at Glasgow Clyde College and University of Strathclyde and then transitioning to work as a Parliamentary Officer in the Scottish Parliament.
Alex began campaigning for Scottish independence during the Yes campaign in 2013 in Glasgow’s East End, and shortly afterwards joined the SNP. Like many people the result in 2014 convinced him to get more actively involved in the independence movement. Since then, he has been involved in every election campaign, often in an organisational capacity, and as a candidate in the 2017 Council elections in Shettleston Ward.
Alex was instrumental in setting up the Young Scots for Independence Glasgow Region and SNP Strathclyde. He currently serves as the Convener of Shettleston Constituency Branch and the Glasgow Regional Association of the SNP. In 2018, Shettleston Constituency was awarded branch of the year and Alex was also successful in becoming one of the six members elected to the party’s National Executive Committee.
Aged 24, Alex is the youngest SNP candidate in the European elections and is dedicated to fighting for Scotland’s right to remain in the EU as an independent country and for the rights of our young people as European citizens.
Outwith politics, he is currently studying Physics at the Open University and enjoys hill walking. Throughout his time campaigning for the SNP and Scottish independence, Alex has become more and more convinced that Westminster is incapable of representing the country’s interests and that the best future for Scotland is as an independent country within the European family of nations.