MEP’s take the stand in public debate

Monday 5 April 2004

St Andrews students, staff and the general public will be given the chance to “grill” Members of the European Parliament later this month (Friday 16 April 2004).

In advance of the European elections on 10 June 2004, the University of St Andrews is hosting a European Question Time with Elspeth Attwooll (Liberal Democrat), Ian Hudghton (SNP), John Purvis CBE (Conservative) and Catherine Stihler (Labour) taking the stand.

The event, to be chaired by Principal and Vice-Chancellor Dr Brian Lang, will be held in the seat of the first Scottish Parliament at Parliament Hall, South Street, St Andrews from 1- 2pm. Members of the audience can pose questions on the day or submit questions in advance via the University Press Office, 82 North Street, St Andrews, KY16 9AL or email [email protected].

The event, part of a rolling programme taking place in Scottish universities, is being held in conjunction with the European Parliament Office in Scotland whose role is to promote public awareness of the European Parliament’s role in the formulation, adoption and oversight of EU policies, promote contacts between the European and Scottish Parliaments, and improve links between Scots and their elected MEPs.

John Edward, Head of the European Parliament Office in Scotland said, “Recent research shows that there is a huge gap between how much people care about issues, and their knowledge about how the European Parliament affects them. This St Andrews Question Time is a chance for people to make up their own minds about how relevant and important their MEPs and the European Elections in June are to them. The European Parliament today takes decisions of equal importance to those taken by national governments in areas of consumer protection, the environment, the workplace and so on. For better or worse, these decisions could affect the quality and price of goods we buy in the shops, the purity of the air we breathe and the rules that govern our workplace. Put simply, decisions made by the European Parliament make a difference to the quality of your life, so it makes a difference who you send to the European Parliament.¿

Elspeth Attwooll graduated from St Andrews with an LLB in 1964 and an MA in Politics and Philosophy in 1966. Elspeth, a Liberal Democrat, has been an MEP since June 1999. In the European Parliament, Elspeth is a member of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee, the Fisheries Committee and the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. The Liberal Democrats sit with the ELDR Group in the European Parliament, the Group of the European Liberal, Democratic and Reform Party.

Fife-born Ian Hudghton has been an active member of the SNP since 1968. Following a distinguished career in local government, which included becoming Leader of Angus Council in 1996, and as a member of the Committee of the Regions, Ian became an MEP after a by- election in 1998 and was re- elected in 1999. He is a member of the Budgets Committee, the Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee and the Fisheries Committee. The SNP sits with a group called the European Free Alliance which incorporates European Greens and groups such as Plaid Cymru.

John Purvis CBE was born in St Andrews, the eldest son of a farming family in East Fife, where he still lives. He graduated from St Andrews in 1962 with an MA (Hons) in Moral Philosophy and Political Economy. His earlier career in international banking and business development took him to London, New York and Milan. John is a Conservative and was first elected an MEP from 1979- 1984 and then again from 1999. John is Vice-Chairman of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, a member of the Industry, External Trade, Research and Energy Committee and the Conservative spokesman on biotechnology. The UK Conservatives sit in the Parliament’s largest group, the European People’s Party/Christian Democrats.

Fellow alumnus Catherine Stihler was, between 1994 and 1995, President of the University’s Students’ Association and gained an MA Hons in Geography and International Relations and an M. Litt in International Security Studies. Catherine became an MEP in 1999 at the age of 26 and, as a Labour member, sits with the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, the second largest political group in the EP. Catherine is a member of the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection Committee and the Committee on Fisheries. She is also Labour spokesman on health and fishing issues.

The event is open to the public and free of charge. No tickets required.


Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews For more information, please contact Contact Claire Grainger, Press Officer – 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or cg24@st- Ref: press releases/mep’s View the latest University news at

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