Ian Hudghton was first elected to the European Parliament as North East Scotland SNP's unanimous choice candidate in a 1998 by-election, following the death of Dr Allan Macartney. Ian sat alongside SNP MEP Winnie Ewing until her election to the Scottish Parliament in 1999. Prior to this Ian had served as one of Scotland's four members of the EU Committee of the Regions.
He was a successful campaign co-ordinator and election agent, organising memorable victories for John Swinney and Allan Macartney. An active member of the SNP since joining the Forfar Branch in 1967, Ian was elected to the SNP controlled Angus District Council in 1986, serving eight years as Housing Convener. From 1994-1996 he was Depute Leader of the minority SNP administration in Tayside Regional Council. In 1996 Ian became full-time Leader of the newly constituted Angus Council, prior to which he ran a decorating business for over twenty years. He is married with a son and daughter. In the 1999 European Elections Ian headed the SNP list and at the SNP Annual Conference 2003, delegates voted overwhelmingly in Ian's favour once again to head the Party's list of candidates for the 2004 European Elections.
Ian was elected President of the Scottish National Party at the Party's Annual Conference, following Winnie Ewing's retirement from the post in September 2005 and has been re-elected at each successive Annual Conference.
In 2009 the SNP adopted an all-member postal ballot system for the selection of European Election candidates. Once again Ian topped the poll and led the SNP list of candidates to a highly successful election result, in which the SNP won more votes than any other Party!
During the summer of 2013, SNP members once again voted to rank Ian top of the SNP list of candidates for the Euro elections held in May 2014. The SNP once again topped the poll, winning 2 of Scotland's 6 seats.
Ian is Vice-President of the European Free Alliance grouping, part of the Greens/EFA Group, the 6th largest political group in the European Parliament.
He currently serves on the Fisheries and the Economic and Monetary Affairs committees, using every opportunity to highlight the benefits which independent nation status for Scotland would bring!