Union to Attend All Scottish Party Conferences

Fringe event focus is ‘Food Production Key to Scotland’s Success’

In a first for NFU Scotland, the Union is to attend all Scottish political party conferences this spring and summer.  

Under the theme ‘Food Production is Key to Scotland’s Success’, NFUS will use fringe events to highlight the economic importance of the farming, food and drink sectors to Scotland whilst garnering support for securing the best Brexit deal possible for the nation’s farmers and crofters.

The Union’s fringe event at the Scottish Conservative Party Conference in Aberdeen on Friday (2 March), chaired by Vice President Martin Kennedy, will be addressed by Edward Mountain MSP, who chairs the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity (REC) committee. A week later, the Union’s fringe event at the Scottish Labour conference in Dundee (9 March) will be chaired by President Andrew McCornick and will hear from Colin Smyth MSP, shadow spokesman on the rural economy and a member of the REC committee.

At both events, the Union’s Director of Policy Jonnie Hall will update politicians and delegates on the Union’s priorities for Brexit and Political Affairs Manager Clare Slipper will outline the Union’s views on the forthcoming Good Food Nation Bill.

Looking further ahead, the Union will take exhibition space at the Scottish Green Conference in Greenock (17 March) and will also be at the Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference in Aviemore (20 April) and the SNP Conference in Aberdeen (8 June).

NFU Scotland staged its first ever fringe events at national party conferences in October 2017 when it attended the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester and the SNP event in Glasgow.

Speaking ahead of the forthcoming fringe events, Political Affairs Manager Clare Slipper said: “NFU Scotland’s first foray into national political party conferences in Autumn 2017 was a great success and we aim to repeat that by attending all five Scottish party conferences this Spring.

“As we continue to ramp up our political engagement in Holyrood and Westminster, our presence at these conferences is vital in developing relationships not just with parliamentarians from across the country, but also members of the political parties who ultimately are the consumers of the Scottish produce which NFU Scotland members work hard to deliver.

“In 2018, Scotland will legislate on a Good Food Nation whilst also considering a new system of post-Brexit agricultural support. It is vital that the development of these policies complement each other and work for the good of Scottish food production.

“Having a strong presence at the Scottish spring party conferences will allow us to engage with many of Scotland’s key decision-makers on these significant developments and find common ground with the parties on the direction of travel.

“If any NFU Scotland members are also members of the political parties, then we invite them to come along to our events and join this important discussion.”

Notes for editors

  • NFU Scotland events at Scottish Political Party conferences are as follows:
    • Friday 2 March – Scottish Conservative Conference, Aberdeen – 07:45 – 08:45 breakfast briefing in Room 10, AICC
    • Friday 9 March – Scottish Labour Conference, Dundee – 12:30 – 13:30 lunch meeting in Room 9 (Hollins Room), Caird Hall
    • Saturday 17 March – Scottish Green Conference, Greenock – Exhibition stand all day
    • NFUS will also be at the Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference (Friday 20 April) and SNP Conference (Friday 8 June).
  • Edward Mountain MSP, who will address the NFUS fringe event at the Scottish Conservative party conference in Aberdeen on 2 March is a qualified chartered surveyor and was a senior partner at Bidwells in Inverness before he returned home in 2007 to farm. He runs a herd of 180 pedigree Simmentals and grows 300 acres of barley. The farm includes property letting enterprises. He was elected as a Scottish Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands Region in May 2016 and is Convenor of the Scottish Parliamentary Committee on Rural Economy and Connectivity.
  • Colin Smyth MSP, who will address the NFUS fringe event at the Scottish Labour party conference in Dundee on 9 March is a former teacher and was General Secretary of the Scottish Labour Party in 2008-12. He was a councillor for Dumfries and Galloway Council from 2007 up to his election to the Scottish Parliament in May 2016. In the Scottish Parliament, Colin speaks for Scottish Labour as the Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity. He sits on the REC Committee. 
  • Media wishing to attend the forthcoming conferences, details are at: 


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 33/18

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