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News / Five speakers so far for EU hustings

FIVE speakers have so far been confirmed for Saturday’s European Parliament election hustings, hosted by the Althing debating society.

Christian Allard, who is number two on the SNP’s list for the EU election, will be the only actual candidate present at the Lerwick hustings.

Labour will be represented by local branch treasurer and community councillor Johan Adamson, while Lerwick resident and Remain campaigner Denyse Harper will speak on behalf of the Scottish Greens.

MP for Orkney and Shetland Alistair Carmichael will make the case for the Lib Dems’ campaign to remain in the EU while Nathan Leask, a local UKIP party member, will argue in favour of leaving the EU now and without a deal.

The EU elections, due to take place on 23 May, in the UK were arranged at short notice after both sides agreed to delay Brexit until 31 October 2019.

Should the UK leave the EU before the end of June however, all newly elected MEPs from the UK, including the six from Scotland, will not take their seats in the Strasbourg parliament.

The hustings, chaired by Brae School history teacher Irvine Tait, will be held at the Lerwick Town Hall between 2pm and 4pm, with doors open from 1.30pm.

The audience will be able to ask questions as well as hear the speakers make the case for their parties.

While in Shetland on Saturday, Allard will also be meeting with Simon Collins of the Shetland Fishermen’s Association, and canvassing around the Toll Clock Shopping Centre before joining the Shetland Pensions Justice Group’s weekly demonstration at the Tesco roundabout.

Allard, a Frenchman who has been living and working in Scotland for more than 30 years and served as an MSP from 2013 to 2016, has been working in the Northeast seafood industry for many years.

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“With my experience in the fishing industry, I became involved in my community and in local politics, then I joined the Scottish National Party where, again, I was warmly welcomed,” he said.

The 55-year-old candidate said he is firmly in favour of free movement of citizens within the EU: “People are now travelling and setting up across the globe like never before.

“Our history shows that generations of Scottish people have migrated away from Scotland. This is why it’s easier for us to now welcome those who are choosing to live here.

“It’s time to open up our home, our nation, our democracy and allow everyone who lives here to contribute to society.”

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