Big Rural Referendum Debate Secures Leading Line Up

Top Politicians and Campaigners sign up for Stirling Event

Leading politicians and farming campaigners will be on the platform at NFU Scotland’s high-level independence referendum debate in Stirling next month.

NFU Scotland’s Big Referendum Debate will take place at United Auctions (UA) market on the outskirts of Stirling on Monday 17 March, with the Union’s President Nigel Miller chairing the meeting.

Speaking on behalf of the Yes campaign will be Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon; Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead and Perthshire farmer Jim Fairlie, a member of the Farming for Yes group.

Speaking on behalf of the Better Together campaign will be Scottish Secretary of State Alistair Carmichael; Scottish MEP and chairman of the Rural Better Together campaign George Lyon and Aberdeenshire farmer Peter Chapman, from the Rural Better Together group.

With the referendum being held on Thursday September 18, this event will be a prime opportunity for NFU Scotland’s members and the wider rural community to ask the questions that will influence how they will vote on that day.

The evening will begin at 7pm, when speakers will give an overview of their position of what will happen in the event that Scotland either becomes independent or remains part of the UK. A debate surrounding the future for Scottish food and farming will follow. To round off the night there will be questions taken from the floor, chaired by Mr Miller.

Tickets for the event are being sent to officeholders across NFU Scotland’s nine regions as well as key agricultural stakeholder groups.  Approximately 150 tickets will also be made available on a first come, first serve basis.

Local events are also continuing to take place with more than 70 farmers attending a referendum debate in Kirkcaldy last night (24 February) organised by the local North East Fife, West Fife and Kinross branches of NFU Scotland.

Clare Slipper, Parliamentary Officer for NFU Scotland commented:

“The line-up of leading politicians and campaigners simply confirms that rural Scotland and the future of our food and farming sectors is one of the key battlegrounds around which the referendum debate will be fought.  Farmers want to be part of this crucial debate.

“This event provides an important public platform for both sides to lay out their vision for the nation and our agricultural industry and to answer the many pressing questions coming forward from the membership of NFU Scotland and the wider rural community.

“As the date of the referendum draws nearer, it is now more important than ever that our farmers gain a perspective on the arguments at play in the debate in order to make an informed decision on where to place their vote in September.

“The political frisson at our recent AGM in St Andrews showed that there is a real appetite for an event that brings an agricultural focus to the debate over Scotland’s constitutional future.  That was underlined at Kirkcaldy last night (24 February) when more than 70 farmers turned out to hear speakers from both camps at a meeting organised by the local North East Fife, West Fife and Kinross branches.”

Notes to Editors

  • The NFU Scotland Big Referendum Debate will be held in United Auctions Stirling on Monday 17 March at 7pm.
  • Within NFU Scotland, an invitation to attend, along with the option of submitting a question for the event, will be sent to the following: Board of Directors; Regional Chairmen and invited guests; Branch chairmen; the National Association of Group Secretaries; New Generation Group.
  • Tickets will also be sent to a number of stakeholder organisations including – Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs; Agricultural Industries Confederation; Association of Agricultural Engineers; Scottish Crofting Federation; National Sheep Association; Scottish Beef Association; Institute of Auctioneers; Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers; British Veterinary Association; SRUC; Quality Meat Scotland; Home Grown Cereals Authority; Scotland Food and Drink; Potato Council; Blackface Sheep Breeders; James Hutton Institute; Moredun Institute;
  • NFU Scotland will have 150 tickets available for those who would like to attend. These can be applied for by calling 0131 472 4000 or emailing
  • Tickets for the event include a tear-off section where attendees can submit one question to be considered during the debate.  These must be returned by 12 March.
  • Members of the media who would like to attend the event can contact or phone 0131 472 4108.
  • Any politician who would like to attend can contact or call 0131 472 4182


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 4172 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 39-14

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