NFU Scotland has had an overwhelming demand for tickets for its high-level independence referendum debate, taking place later this month.
NFU Scotland’s Big Referendum Debate will take place at United Auctions (UA) market on the outskirts of Stirling on Monday 17 March, with the Union’s President Nigel Miller chairing the meeting.
Speaking on behalf of the Yes Scotland campaign will be Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon; Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead and Perthshire farmer Jim Fairlie, a member of the Farming for Yes group.
Speaking on behalf of the Better Together campaign will be Scottish Secretary of State Alistair Carmichael; Scottish MEP and chairman of the Rural Better Together campaign George Lyon and Aberdeenshire farmer Peter Chapman, from the Rural Better Together group.
Tickets for the event have been sent to officeholders across NFU Scotland’s nine regions as well as key agricultural stakeholder groups. Nearly 200 of the Union’s members and other interested parties have already signed up for tickets through the open allocation in the last two weeks.
NFU Scotland’s Parliamentary Officer, Clare Slipper commented:
“The uptake of the tickets is hugely encouraging, and we are delighted that farmers across Scotland have shown such enthusiasm to attend the event.
“We strongly believe that the time is ripe to capture a snapshot of the key priorities for the rural community in the independence debate, and look forward to hearing the range of topics and questions put to the panel on the night.
“We look forward to working with UA Stirling to deliver the event in a dynamic agricultural setting and will be welcoming stakeholders along to the event, including Scotland’s Rural College, Agricultural Industries Confederation, NFUS New Generation, the Institute of Auctioneers, Quality Meat Scotland and the Home Grown Cereals Authority.
“We urge those who haven’t managed to get a ticket not to be discouraged and to contact us with their details to be put on a reserve list. There is still time for those who have obtained tickets to send in their questions for our speakers.”
With the referendum being held on Thursday September 18, this event will be a prime opportunity for NFU Scotland’s members and the wider rural community to ask the questions that will influence how they will vote on that day.
The evening will begin at 7pm, when speakers will give an overview of their position of what will happen in the event that Scotland either becomes independent or remains part of the UK. A debate surrounding the future for Scottish food and farming will follow. To round off the night there will be questions taken from the floor, chaired by Mr Miller.