Member of the European Parliament, Ian Hudghton, is guest speaker at this evening's meeting of Dundee West SNP Constituency Association. The MEP, who heads the SNP's list for next year's European Parliament elections will talk to delegates about his work as an MEP and about recent developments in the EU.

Using the opportunity to talk about European enlargement and the Constitution on the future of the Future of Europe, Mr Hudghton, will add his voice to those of SNP colleagues Nicola Sturgeon and Angus Robertson in demanding that a referendum be held on the Convention.

Explaining his position, Mr Hudghton will say:

"Democracy itself demands that Scots voters are permitted to decide on this, the most significant shake up of the European treaties ever. The staging of a referendum would ensure that proper debate of the issues took place but I do have my doubts that the Government will put the text to a vote."

"While the SNP is in favour of much of the draft text, as a Scot, I would, under the present circumstances, be calling for a 'No' vote on the Constitution, in part because it would see fishing become entrenched as an exclusive EU competence. It simply won't do to give Brussels even more power to dictate over our precious marine resources when they've made an almighty mess of it already and our coastal communities are struggling to survive."

Turning his attention to European enlargement, the MEP will say that nations equal in size, or smaller than Scotland will become very much the norm when countries like Slovenia, Slovakia and the Baltic states join the EU next year and that Scotland, by remaining in the UK will be left standing by the rest.

As of next June, to be a small nation in Europe will be quite the norm. Of the 25 member states 11 will be equivalent in size to, or smaller than Scotland and a further 8 will have 10 million citizens or less. All these nations will, rightly, have full nation status and a seat at the top table where the crucial decisions are made.

"Scots will start to see these other small nations flexing their muscles on behalf of their citizens while Scotland remains in the UK's shadow. Under these circumstances for Westminster to continue peddling the lie that a nation like Scotland can't benefit from being independent like Estonia, Lithuania or Latvia is just sheer arrogance."

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