Union to Host Major EU Referendum Debate

EU Farm Commissioner Hogan confirmed for 19 May event

NFU Scotland is to host a major debate on Britain’s future in the European Union ahead of the in/out referendum taking place on Thursday, 23 June.

The debate: “In or Out? – the implications for Scottish food and farming” will be held on Thursday 19 May – five weeks before Britain votes on EU membership.

Fittingly, the event is to be held in the MacRobert Pavilion within the Royal Highland Showground near Edinburgh.  The EU membership poll on 23 June will coincide with the opening day of the Royal Highland Show – Scotland’s biggest agricultural event – and the Union has already encouraged people planning to attend the show to consider organising a postal vote.

The first speaker to confirm his attendance is European Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan. The Union expects a high profile speaker from the Vote Leave campaign to be confirmed in the next few days, at which point registration to attend the event will open.

The Union will also spend time on farm with Commissioner Hogan the following day (Friday, 20 May).  Commissioner Hogan attended the Royal Highland Show in June 2015, taking in a visit to the Hamilton family’s arable, beef and sheep unit at Garvald Mains near Haddington.  This time round, the Commissioner will visit the Dandie family at Learielaw, Broxburn where they run a large arable farm with suckler cow and beef finishing enterprises.

NFU Scotland President Allan Bowie said: “Given the importance of Europe as a market for our produce, and the Common Agricultural Policy as a major support structure for our iconic food and farming industries, debate on the issue of EU membership is of huge significance to every farmer and crofter in Scotland.

“We have said before that farmers would prefer to farm without the financial support they receive from the EU but the reality is that most don’t make enough from selling their produce in the marketplace – either at home or in export markets - for this to be possible.

“This event will provide all those engaged in this fundamental debate on Scotland and the UK’s future with a fantastic opportunity to hear first-hand what ongoing EU membership or Brexit might meant to them.

“To ensure that Scotland’s farmers and crofters know where to put their cross come 23 June, we need an informed discussion from those at the centre of the debate and this is shaping up to being a hugely important event in the run up to the referendum.

“We are delighted that EU Commissioner Hogan will take the platform on 19 May and we look forward to the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign confirming its speaker in due course.”  

Notes to Editors

  • NFU Scotland’s debate on European membership entitled: “In or Out – The implications for Scottish food and farming” will be held in the MacRobert Pavilion, Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, nr Edinburgh, EH28 8NB on Thursday 19 May, 6.30pm for 7.00pm start.  The first speaker confirmed is European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan.  A speaker for the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign is to be confirmed.
  • Registration for the event on 19 May will open shortly. In the meantime, those interested in attending can contact NFU Scotland’s Parliamentary Officer Clare Slipper on
  • Any media interested in attending the debate can contact Bob Carruth on
  • Commissioner Hogan will be visiting the arable and beef farm run by the Dandie family at Learielaw, Broxburn, West Lothian, EH52 5PG on the morning of Friday 20 May.  A formal media invite will be sent out in due course but any media interested in attending the debate can contact Bob Carruth on


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 110/16

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