SNP unveils candidates for 2014 European election

The SNP's two existing MEPs have topped a ballot to choose the party's candidates for the 2014 European Parliament election.

In the last election in 2009, Ian Hudghton and Alyn Smith were elected.

When members were asked to rank six candidates for the election, expected to be held on 22 May next year, the pair again topped the poll.

The four other candidates will be Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, Stephen Gethins, Toni Giugliano and Chris Stephens.

Talented team

Members could vote either by post or - for the first time - online, and the ballot was conducted on the basis of one-member-one-vote, using single transferable voting.

In 2009, the SNP secured the largest share of the vote in Scotland with 29.1% followed by Labour (20.8%), Conservatives (16.8%), Liberal Democrats (11.5%), Greens (7.3%) and UKIP (5.2%).

The SNP and Labour each won two seats, with the Tories and Liberal Democrats each securing one.

SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said: "This is a strong and talented team of candidates to take the SNP and Scotland forward."