Leading politicians and farming campaigners will be on the platform at NFU Scotland’s high-level independence referendum debate in Stirling next 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 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.
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.
Tickets for the event are being sent to officeholders across NFU Scotland’s nine regions as well as key agricultural stakeholder groups. Approximately 150 tickets will also be made available on a first come, first serve basis.
Local events are also continuing to take place with more than 70 farmers attending a referendum debate in Kirkcaldy organised by the local North East Fife, West Fife and Kinross branches of NFU Scotland.
Clare Slipper, Parliamentary Officer for NFU Scotland commented: “The line-up of leading politicians and campaigners simply confirms that rural Scotland and the future of our food and farming sectors is one of the key battlegrounds around which the referendum debate will be fought. Farmers want to be part of this crucial debate.
“This event provides an important public platform for both sides to lay out their vision for the nation and our agricultural industry and to answer the many pressing questions coming forward from the membership of NFU Scotland and the wider rural community.
“As the date of the referendum draws nearer, it is now more important than ever that our farmers gain a perspective on the arguments at play in the debate in order to make an informed decision on where to place their vote in September.
“The political frisson at our recent AGM in St Andrews showed that there is a real appetite for an event that brings an agricultural focus to the debate over Scotland’s constitutional future. That was underlined at Kirkcaldy last night (24 February) when more than 70 farmers turned out to hear speakers from both camps at a meeting organised by the local North East Fife, West Fife and Kinross branches.”