European election: Final push for Scottish votes

European Parliament Voters in Scotland will send six MEPs to the European Parliament

Political parties campaigning in Scotland ahead of the European Election have been making a final push for votes, ahead of Thursday's poll.

The SNP is seeking to increase the number of seats it won last time from two to three, while Labour said it was the party of influence in Brussels.

The Conservatives backed reform, while the Lib Dems said they were making a positive case for Britain in the EU.

The Scottish Greens are seeking to win their first MEP seat.

SNP candidate Ian Hudghton said a vote for his party was a vote for Scotland and against UKIP.

He said: "Scotland's interest needs strong representation and the SNP can be trusted to always put Scotland's interests first in the European Parliament, that's very important, and there's an opportunity to strengthen the SNP team in the European Parliament and, at the same time, to keep UKIP out of Scotland."

Red tape regulation

Labour candidate David Martin, whose party won two seats at the last European election, argued: "Unlike most of the other Scottish parties, we can make a difference in the European Parliament because we sit in a group that matters.

Consider the European dimension. If you vote tomorrow in Scotland, you are helping to elect a parliament of 751 MEPs, representing 500 million citizens in 28 states.

You will be helping to determine the nature of that parliament: whether it is free trade or protectionist; whether it is for ever closer European Union or abolition of the EU; whether it is broadly left, right, centre or rainbow.

You will also be helping, indirectly, to choose the next president of the European Commission. You will be influencing issues like employment rights, economic co-operation and the future of the European Union. So nothing big, then.

"We sit in the second largest group and we've got a strong set of policies on jobs, tackling tax evasion, sorting out the banking crisis and defending workers rights, so we've got good policies and the ability to deliver on those policies."

The Conservatives, which returned a single MEP in the 2009 election, promised reform and, in three years, a referendum on whether Britain should quit the EU.

Candidate Ian Duncan said: "Scots are concerned about interference from Europe. Form-filling, auditing, red tape regulation.

"We want far less of that and that's what we promise - a change in our relationship with Europe. And then we promise a choice in a referendum, allowing Scots to make up their own mind about their relationship with Europe, so it's about change and then its about choice."

The Liberal Democrats may face a tough fight to hang onto their one Scottish seat.

Candidate George Lyon said: "We've been round the doorsteps now for the last six weeks - a huge number of voters we've been speaking to - and they do not want to see the break-up of Britain or the break-up of the European Union.

"They want to support a party that's putting forward a positive case for staying in Britain and staying in Europe."

'Hope' message

Green candidate Maggie Chapman said her party was offering "exactly the opposite" of UKIP, adding: "A vote for the Greens is a vote for a politics of hope.

"It's a vote for a welcoming Scotland, for a Scotland that stands up for a just economy for all, not just for the wealthy, and it's for a nation of peace."

UKIP has been campaigning for Britain to quit the European Union, and for immigration curbs.

"UKIP is the only party in Scotland which wants to get out of the European Union," said candidate David Coburn.

"All the other parties, to a greater or lesser extent, want to remain in the European Union, and the Conservatives promised a referendum, they didn't give it last time - they wont give it this time."

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