A Clydesdale resident, Aileen McLeod, has been elected to the European Parliament as one of Scotland’s six MEP’s.
This means that Carluke and Lanark is now represented by a female politician at all three levels of Scottish, UK and European government; Holyrood, Westminster and now in Brussels.
However, how long the 47-year-old, who has lived with her husband in Lanark for over a decade, will retain her seat will depend on whether or not the United Kingdom leaves the European Union as scheduled at the end of October.
One thing that is certain is that she won’t need a guide to show her around the European Parliament; she lived and worked in Brussels for five years as the head of policy for her now fellow SNP MEP Alyn Smith.
Her connections with the EU go back to the early 1990’s when she graduated from Edinburgh University with a degree in German and European Community studies.
After leaving her Brussels job in 2009 she was parliamentary assistant to Scottish Government’s Brexit minister Mike Russell, himself a former Clydesdale consitituency Westminster parliamentary candidate and Tillietudlem resident for several years.
She was elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2011 for the South Scotland region and, in 2014, was appointed Scottish Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform minister.
She lost her seat to the Conservatives in the 2017 General Election.
The new MEP has made no secret of her strong anti-Brexit beliefs, stating: “The EU isn’t perfect and does need reform but Scotland has benefited
greatly from our membership of it.
“Many of our jobs and much of the way we live our lives – including the welcome we give to those who come and work with us – relies on our membership of the European single market.
“In addition to boosting jobs and investment, ensuring protection for our workers and the environment, the EU delivers support to our rural economy with access to markets and backing for our farmers and food producers.
“Brexit threatens all of that with fewer jobs, fewer opportunities, and households left worse off.
“The damage of Brexit to our young people who presently have the right to go anywhere to live, study and work across the EU will be incalculable.”
* The South Lanarkshire Council area European Election percentage share of votes were: SNP 40.7 per cent, Brexit 15 per cent, Labour 12.5 per cent, Conservatives 10.7 per cent, Lib Dems 10.6 percent, Green Party 6.3 per cent, Change UK 2.0 per cent, UKIP 1.8 per cent, Gordon Edgar (Independent) 0.4 per cent and Ken Parke (Independent) 0.1 per cent.