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Thursday, September 24, 1998 Published at 13:59 GMT 14:59 UK

UK Politics

SNP chooses Euro candidates

A ballot will choose candidates for the European Parliament

Delegates at the Scottish National Party conference have voted on their party's national list of candidates who will contest next year's European elections.

Candidates will be ranked in order of preference by the delegates with those at the top standing most chance of being elected as MEPs.

'Largest selection'

This is in contrast to the method used by the Labour party whose candidates are ranked by its National Executive Committee.

The SNP candidates include former party leader Gordon Wilson, entertainer Anne Lorne Gillies and Professor Neil McCormick.

The results of the ballot at the Inverness conference, which has been overseen by the Electoral Reform Society, will be announced on Thursday.

[ image: Sheep farming is like a
Sheep farming is like a "third world industry"
The European elections, the first by proportional representation, will take place in June next year, a month after the contest for seats in the Scottish Parliament.

Scottish National Party chief executive Mike Russell said the ballot showed the party was happy to conduct important business in public.

He said: "This is the largest selection conference ever held in Scotland."

The SNP has mocked the Labour party's selection procedures for the European elections saying that candidates have effectively been appointed behind closed doors by the London hierarchy.

Sheep farming

The SNP conference has also debated the country's farming industry which faces its worst recession since the war, delegates heard.

Up to 20,000 sheep in Shetland may have to be shot and buried because there is no market for them, Scottish National Farmers Union president George Lyon said.

He likened the state of the industry to one in a third world country.

In an emergency motion, delegates massively backed a resolution calling on the government to introduce a package of emergency aid for farmers to offset the appreciation of sterling, and for other measures including an early lifting of the beef ban.

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