Alyn Smith


Alyn Edward Smith (born 15 September 1973) is a Scottish politician. A member of the Scottish National Party (SNP), he was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Stirling at the 2019 general election. He also served as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Scotland from 2004 to 2019.[1]

Alyn Smith

Smith in 2019
SNP Foreign Affairs Spokesperson
Assumed office
7 January 2020
LeaderIan Blackford
Preceded byStephen Gethins
Member of Parliament
for Stirling
Assumed office
12 December 2019
Preceded byStephen Kerr
Majority9,254 (17.6%)
Member of the European Parliament
for Scotland
In office
10 June 2004  12 December 2019
Preceded byNeil MacCormick
Succeeded byHeather Anderson
President of the European Free Alliance group
In office
11 June 2019  13 December 2019
Preceded byJosep Maria Terricabras i Nogueras
Personal details
Born (1973-09-15) 15 September 1973 (age 47)
Glasgow, Scotland
NationalityScottish
Political partyScottish National Party
ResidenceStirling
Alma materUniversity of Leeds
Nottingham Trent University
ProfessionLawyer
Websitealynsmith.scot

Early life and education


Smith was born in Glasgow on 15 September 1973 to Jane and Edward Smith.[2] He grew up between Scotland and Saudi Arabia.

After returning to the UK in 1986, he studied law and European law at the University of Leeds, receiving his LLB (Hons) degree in 1994. He spent a year studying on the Erasmus Programme at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. He gained a master's degree in European studies from the College of Europe in Natolin, Warsaw in 1995. The following year, he graduated from Nottingham Law School at Nottingham Trent University, and received a Diploma in Legal Practice.[1] For a year he taught English in India and worked with Scotland Europa in Brussels.[3]

Smith later moved to London, where he qualified as a lawyer with commercial solicitors law firm Clifford Chance, working with them from 1997 to 1999. He was with another solicitors firm, Anderson Strathern, from 2000 to 2002. Smith was a director of Turning Point Scotland from 2011 to 2015, and a trustee of LGBT Youth Scotland from 2012 to 2017. He is Honorary Vice President of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA).[1]

Political career


European Parliament

Smith was elected for the first time – as Scotland's youngest MEP – in the 2004 European Parliament election. He was re-elected three times at the 2009, 2014 and 2019 European Parliament elections.[4][5] He sat as a member of the currently seven-strong European Free Alliance Group in the Parliament, which retains its own identity within the joint Green-European Free Alliance Group.[6]

He was a member of the SNP's National Executive Committee until he was voted out in November 2020.

In his first two terms in the European Parliament, Smith served as a full member of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development[7] winning the coveted Scottish Farmer Magazine award for "Outstanding Contribution to Scottish Agriculture" at the Highland Show in 2009.[8]

After his re-election in 2014, Smith served as a full member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, remaining a voice in agriculture as alternate member of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee. He was also a full member of both the Delegation for relations with the Arabian Peninsula, and the Delegation for relations with Iraq.[9]

On 27 March 2019, in a brief speech to the European parliament, Smith stated that Brexit will cause the people of Scotland to be removed from the EU against their democratically expressed will, and that Scottish independence from the UK could provide a means for Scotland to rejoin the EU. Many newspaper headlines cited his closing line: "I'm asking you to leave a light on so we can find our way home."[10][11][12][13]

On Sky News in May 2019, Smith claimed that the Brexit Party is "a shell company that’s a money laundering front". After the party's chairman threatened legal action,[14][15] Smith apologised unreservedly and admitted that he had no evidence for his allegation, made a major contribution to the party chairman's legal costs and made a donation to charity. It is alleged that Smith's donation was paid by the SNP out of member's party donations.[16]

All new EU accession states must commit to joining the euro as a condition of membership[17] and in May 2019 Smith said that Scotland should be "open" to joining the euro if ever the country leaves the United Kingdom.[18] In 2021 Smith said an independent Scotland should hold a referendum on the issue. “We would want to participate an economic & monetary union for the macroeconomic stability," Smith told la Repubblica. "The adoption of the euro should be put to the people in a referendum."[19] He also accepted that the SNP's proposals would mean a hard border with England: "The border of Carlisle will be an external border of the European Union, customs union and single market. We've got obligations of policing that, of course."[20]

After the election, Smith became President of the European Free Alliance group in the European Parliament, and by holding that office, First Vice-President of the Greens/EFA Group.[21][22]

House of Commons

He contested Edinburgh West for the SNP at the 2001 general election, coming fourth.[23] At the 2003 Scottish Parliament election, he contested the same seat, again coming fourth. Smith was Group Advisor for Justice, Business and Europe for the SNP Group in the Scottish Parliament from 2002 to 2004.[1]

On 12 December 2019, Smith was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Stirling, unseating the previous Conservative Party incumbent Stephen Kerr with a majority of 9,254 votes or 17.6%.[24] Following his election, Smith ceased to be an MEP, as an individual cannot simultaneously be a member of a member state's legislature and of the European Parliament.[25]

References


  1. "Smith, Alyn, (born 15 Sept. 1973), MP (SNP) Stirling, since 2019". WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u44821. Retrieved 1 May 2021.
  2. "Smith, Alyn, (born 15 Sept. 1973), Member (SNP) Scotland, European Parliament, since 2004", Who's Who, Oxford University Press, 1 December 2007, doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u44821, retrieved 31 August 2019
  3. "Alyn Smith – SNP2015". Archived from the original on 23 September 2018. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  4. "MEPs: Alyn Smith: History of parliamentary service". European Parliament. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  5. "The UK's results in maps and charts". 27 May 2019. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  6. "European Free Alliance". Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  7. "MEPs > 6th parliamentary term > Alyn SMITH". www.europarl.europa.eu. European Parliament. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  8. Davidson, Gordon (23 July 2019). "Alyn Smith 'holding Scotland's line' in the European Parliament". Scottish Farmer Magazine. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  9. "About Alyn Smith". alynsmith.eu. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  10. "'Leave a light on' for Scotland, pleads MEP to European colleagues". Belfast Telegraph. 27 March 2019. Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  11. McCall, Chris (27 March 2019). "SNP MEP tells European Parliament to 'leave the light on' for Scotland". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  12. Clegg, David (27 March 2019). "'Leave a light on' for independent Scotland, pleads SNP MEP to European leaders". Daily Record. Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  13. EU Reporter Correspondent (28 March 2019). "'Leave a light on for Scotland', urges Alyn Smith MEP". EU Reporter. Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  14. "Brexit party issues legal threat to SNP MEP Alyn Smith". scotsman.com. 29 May 2019.
  15. "SNP MEP Alyn Smith threatened with legal action by Brexit Party". heraldscotland.com. 29 May 2019.
  16. "Alyn Smith: SNP MEP apologises over Brexit Party 'money laundering' claim". BBC News. 17 June 2019. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  17. "Who can join and when?". European Commission - European Commission. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  18. "Top SNP candidate 'open to an independent Scotland joining the euro'". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  19. Guerrera, Antonello (28 April 2021). "Dio salvi la Scozia". la Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  20. Johnson, Simon (29 April 2021). "SNP suggests independent Scotland would 'totally' accept joining euro as price of EU membership". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  21. Gordon, Tom (4 June 2019). "SNP MEP set for leading role in European Parliament". The Herald. Glasgow. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  22. "SNP MEP elected President of EFA Group in the European Parliament". EFA Group. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  23. "Vote2001 > Results & Constituencies > Edinburgh West". BBC News. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  24. "Stirling parliamentary constituency – Election 2019 – BBC News". BBC News Website. 13 December 2019. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  25. "Movers and Shakers | 16 December 2019". The Parliament Magazine. 16 December 2019.