Mike Russell: Scotland preparing to stage EU elections

Mike Russell says Scotland is ready to stage EU elections
Mike Russell says Scotland is ready to stage EU elections
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Scotland is ready to stage EU elections next month as the prospect of a lengthy extension to Brexit intensifies, according to Mike Russell.

The Scottish Government's Brexit Secretary told MSPs the EU vote "unequivocally" should take place and the SNP is ready to contest them vigorously.

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Prime Minister Theresa May announced last night she will seek another extension to Brexit from EU leaders beyond the current April 12 departure date. However, that increases the likelihood that the UK would have to take part in EU election scheduled for May 23-26.

"Unequivocally I believe they should happen - I would want them to happen," Russell told Holyrood's Constitution committee today.

"I think the EU's position is that they really have to happen if things go beyond the 12th. So I would hope they would happen and we will contest them very vigorously."

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Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie asked if organisations under devolved control - such as schools and councils - were prepared for an EU vote.

"I am absolutely confident that Scotland's electoral administrator's will be prepared and the moment that they are told this is going to happen, they will do so efficiently and effectively.

A decision must be made by April 15 on whether the UK will take part in the European elections, Mr Russell added.

European elections are organised by the UK as the member state.