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Ian Hudghton
Scottish National Party
Member of the European Parliament

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Press Releases
30 May
SNP anger at Dundee leaflet

SNP Member of the European Parliament Ian Hudghton is furious that a publicly funded Foreign and Commonwealth Office leaflet is blatantly being used to promote Labour Party members. A leaflet entitled "Dundee and the European Union" arrived at the MEPís Dundee office last week. Alongside information on EU funded projects in the area is a message from Europe Minister Denis MacShane MP.

However, what has angered Mr Hudghton is that one of Labourís Scottish MEPs has been allocated space for a quote too, prompting him to raise questions of political bias with the Minister. At no time was the SNP, or as far as Mr Hudghton is aware, any other Scottish party asked if they wanted space in the leaflet, in spite of all eight Scots MEPs equally representing Scotland since the 1999 elections.

Speaking from his office in Dundee today, Mr Hudghton said:

"I was rather bemused by the blatant political bias of a leaflet paid for out of the public purse and decided to make some enquiries. On contacting the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London I discovered that leaflets have been produced for Dundee and Edinburgh in Scotland and for Nottingham and Lincolnshire in England. No surprises for guessing which party gets exclusive space on the Edinburgh and English leaflets too! The East Midlands region returned LibDems and Tories to the European Parliament in 1999 too so I would guess that the leaflets will raise hackles there as much as they have done here.

"Itís just too much of a coincidence that itís just Labour members who appear on the pamphlets and makes the purpose of the exercise rather questionable which is a pity as they do provide some useful information on projects the EU has funded in localities like Dundee. I have therefore written to the Minister expressing my anger at his hijacking of a publicly funded publication and asking for a full explanation."

In his letter to Mr MacShane, Mr Hudghton says:

"You will not need to be reminded that, since 1999 Scotland has been treated as a single constituency, its eight MEPs representing the whole country. As such, I would question the advisability of only selecting one of your Labour Party colleagues to feature on both Scottish leaflets, with no explanation as to why he was chosen and no opportunity for the other seven members to append their own comments.

"Given the proportional nature of party political representation in the European Parliament, the preponderance of Labour party figures in these publications is astounding and leaves you and your department wide open to criticism of using public funds for party political gain. I am therefore writing to you to express my anger at what I believe has been a deliberate attempt to gerrymander this series of public information leaflets and to ask you to explain why you see fit only to permit your Labour party colleagues to appear on publicly funded information leaflets."

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