ALYN Smith has led the SNP charge into the upcoming European elections, describing them as Scotland’s “chance to shine” and ‘‘the best opportunity to turn Brexit around once and for all, to show to ourselves and the wider world that Scotland wants something different”.

Smith, writing in today’s Sunday National, bemoaned the UK Government’s persistent exclusion of Scotland from the Brexit discussions.

READ MORE: Alyn Smith: European elections are Scotland's big chance to shine

The SNP MEP went on to describe the uncertainty he and his European colleagues and staff face, but added that they “have not been crippled by it”.

“The more I think on it, the more I’m excited at the prospect,” he writes.

“This is our election. Independence in Europe and international solidarity is written into the party’s DNA. Remember the map of the EU referendum results, proving to us all that Scotland wants something different from all this, something the Tories have systematically ignored and belittled.”

And parties from across the political spectrum have begun their own preparations for what has come to be viewed by many as a proxy referendum on EU membership.

Of the UK’s current crop of 73 European Parliament seats, Scottish members occupy six. Scotland constitutes a single constituency of the European Parliament.

Possible SNP candidates include Smith himself, SNP president and MEP Ian Hudghton, former environment minister Dr Aileen Mcleod and Smith’s chief of staff, Laura Rayner.

The SNP’s final list of European candidates will be comprised of three men and three women, selected by electronic ballot around the same time as the party conference.

READ MORE: SNP call on political foes to unite and break the Brexit impasse

Whether they will have an election campaign to fight and a seat in the European Parliament is still, technically, unclear.

Should the Prime Minister miraculously secure a deal before May 22, the elections and the UK’s place in the EU Parliament, will disappear. However, the UK Government has tabled the legal order which will allow the elections to take place in Britain on May 23.

Elsewhere, Labour stalwart David Martin has announced his candidature, and will be a frontrunner alongside a female representative, who will replace Catherine Stihler.

The LibDems plan to rank 12 candidates for the six places. Scotland’s other MEP, David Coburn, formerly Scottish Ukip’s leader, is heavily anticipated to stand for Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party.

Nosheena Mobarik, who replaced Ian Duncan, has been tipped to lead the Tory ticket.

“If these elections do indeed go ahead, it will be an opportunity for the people to again send a strong message to the SNP,” a Scots Tory spokesperson told the Sunday National.

READ MORE: European Parliament elections: how the voting system works

The spokesperson went on to pledge that an EU Parliament vote for “Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives” would be a chance for Scottish voters to “tell the nationalists they don’t want to see this Brexit process abused by Nicola Sturgeon to agitate for another independence referendum.”

Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie (pictured below) unveiled a European election plan designed to secure the party’s first MEP “bootout” of Coburn.

The National:

“On the back of a strong by-election result in Leith Walk and gains locally and nationally since the last Euro elections, we’re confident of winning Scotland’s first Green MEP,” he said.

“We will do that by putting forward a positive vision for rebuilding European democracy, so that we can tackle the climate crisis, lift millions out of poverty and create a welcoming society which rejects far-right populism.

“If electing a Green to stand up for Scotland’s place in Europe comes with the added incentive of booting out toxic Brexiteer David Coburn then that’s a proposition which will appeal to many,” Harvie added.

The Greens’ campaign to get rid of Coburn was buoyed after a party crowdfunder hit over £10,000 at the time of writing.