SNP claim new MEP unable to take place in Brussels as UK government 'runs down the clock'

The UK government is under pressure to rush through the confirmation of a new SNP MEP before Britain leaves the European Union.

The SNP want its third MEP, a replacement for Alyn Smith, to be confirmed by the UK government as soon as possible.

The SNP today demanded Michael Gove take action to confirm Heather Anderson as its latest representative in Brussels. Ms Anderson, a Scottish Borrders councillor, took up the vacant position after former MEP Alyn Smith won the Stirling seat in the general election.

In the Commons today, Margaret Ferrier MP pressed Mr Gove to take the necessary steps as currently the seat is lying vacant. She said this left Scotland "under-represented" with only two of the three elected SNP MEPs in place.

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She said: Can the Cabinet Secretary take the necessary steps to confirm Heather Abderson as the new MEP for Scotland... and confirm the UK government will not allow the voters of Scotland to be under-represented in their European Parliament when it votes on the Withdrawal Agreement they have overwhelmingly rejected."

Mr Gove said that she had made "a fair point", and added "will do everything we can to ensure appropriate representation for every part of the UK for the remaining ten days of our membership."

Later, Ms Ferrier said: “One of Scotland’s six seats at the European Parliament lies vacant due to the completely unjustifiable inaction by Tory ministers which is leaving Scotland under-represented in the EU.

"It would be a democratic travesty for the UK government to sit on their hands and run down the clock when Heather Anderson is ready and willing to take her seat."