ONE of the country’s longest-serving MEPs has won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the inaugural SNP Annual Awards.

Ian Hudghton was amongst the winners announced at the National St Andrews Dinner, run by Independence Magazine, in Glasgow last night.

Hudghton joined the SNP in 1967 after being signed up by then leader Arthur Donaldson and went on to secure election victories for now Deputy First Minister John Swinney and the late MEP Allan Macartney.

He was elected to the European Parliament after a spell as a councillor and council leader in Angus. This month he will celebrate 20 years as an MEP.

Hudghton was one of five winners at the awards, which were presented by First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, and Gillian Cropper, projects director of sponsors Community Windpower.

Glasgow Central MP Alison Thewliss, a strident campaigner perhaps best known for leading opposition to the Tory government’s rape clause, was voted Parliamentarian of the Year.

The former Glasgow councillor became an MP in May 2015 and is also a member of Scottish CND.

John Alexander, the leader of Dundee City Council and a member of the newly-convened action group set up to address the planned closure of the city’s Michelin Tyre factory, was voted Councillor of the Year.

Elected to the council in 2012 at the age of 23, he became the authority’s leader in April last year.

The Activist of the Year prize went to former Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP Margaret Ferrier, from Cambuslang, who is now a community councillor.

And Shettleston SNP branch was named Branch of the Year, with the prize picked up by convener Alex Kerr and Councillor Jen Layden, its organiser.

More than 250 nominations were received, which the party described as “just one way in which we can collectively thank individuals for their outstanding contributions to the independence cause”.

Independence Magazine editor, Jack Paterson said: “We are thrilled with the response to our inaugural awards, with votes received from all over the country. There were so many strong nominees, and we are delighted to give these awards to these strong campaigners and politicians who are working so hard to better the lives of Scots as we continue working for independence.”