The Scottish National Party announced the result of the ballot of members to rank its six candidates for the European Parliament election, expected to be held on 22 May next year.

Members could vote either by post or, for the first time, online. The ballot was conducted on the basis of one-member-one-vote, using single transferable voting.

The result is as follows:
1. Ian Hudghton MEP
2. Alyn Smith MEP
3. Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh
4. Stephen Gethins
5. Toni Giugliano
6. Chris Stephens

The party is aiming to win the election, by again achieving the largest share of the vote and electing Euro-MPs who will fight for Scotland's interests. In the last European election, in 2009, the SNP and Labour each won two seats, with the Tories and Lib Dems each securing one. The SNP's existing Euro-MPs are Ian Hudghton and Alyn Smith.

The vote shares in 2009 were as follows:
SNP: 29.1%
Lab: 20.8%
Con: 16.8%
Lib D: 11.5%
Green: 7.3%
UKIP: 5.2%

In this weekend's Panelbase poll for the Sunday Times Scotland and Real Radio Scotland for Scottish Parliament voting intentions, the constituency voting figures were (change from 2011 in brackets):
SNP: 48% (+3)
Lab: 30% (-2)
Con: 13% (-1)
Lib D: 4% (-4)
Other: 5% (+3)

Panelbase poll, 1,001 sample, conducted 17-24 July SNP Business Convener Derek Mackay MSP said:

"The SNP have a proud record of standing up for Scotland in Europe, and the latest poll shows that we have even higher support now than when we were re-elected as a government two years ago.

"We approach these elections positively and optimistically – but we take nothing for granted, and will again work extremely hard to earn people's trust.
"While the Westminster system obsesses with a referendum to wrench the UK out of Europe, it is increasingly clear that Scotland needs a direct voice in Europe to protect and promote our interests. Scottish interests will be best served in 2014 by voting SNP in the Euro-elections, and Yes in Scotland's referendum."

SNP leader and First Minister Alex Salmond added:
"This is a strong and talented team of candidates to take the SNP and Scotland forward."

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