TWO former MSPs, an ex-MP and a councillor have been named as the SNP’s candidates for next month’s European election.

Current MEP Alyn Smith will be hoping to keep his spot at the top of the list, but that decision rests firmly in the hands of delegates to the party’s conference.

An email has been sent out to members, asking them to rank Smith, Aileen McLeod, Margaret Ferrier, Christian Allard, Heather Anderson, and Alex Kerr in order of preference.

An SNP insider told The National the party were confident of winning two seats, and reasonably optimistic of taking a third.

Delegates to the Spring conference have until Wednesday morning to rank the six candidates in order of preference.

For Smith, it’s the fourth time going through the process. The 46-year-old has been an MEP since 2004.

He told those voting he “would be honoured” to be their number one. “I’ll lead these euros from the front with your backing,” he tweeted.

Smith has been a prominent supporter of McLeod, the former Scottish Government minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform.

The 48-year-old, worked for Smyth as Head of Policy, before winning a regional list seat in Holyrood in 2011. But in 2016, the numbers weren’t quite there for her, with voters in the Galloway and West Dumfries opting for Tory Finlay Carson.

McLeod said she was “up for the task” of being an SNP MEP, telling delegates “I know the European Parliament inside out. And as a former MSP and Scottish Government Minister I know how to promote Scotland’s interests in Brussels.”

Ferrier, the 59-year-old former MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West said she was “delighted and privileged to be one of the six SP EU election candidates”.

Frenchman Allard was an MSP for the North East of Scotland between 2013 and 2016. Despite being top of the list at the 2016 elections, the SNP’s strong showing in the constituency vote saw him lose out.

The 55-year-old veteran of the fishing industry won a seat on Aberdeen City Council in 2017. “I will always put the people of Scotland first,” he tweeted.

He’s not the only councillor seeking a seat in Brussels and Strasbourg.

Anderson is the councillor for Tweeddale West in the border. The 60-year-old organic farmer, environmental campaigner and Women for Independence National Council member, said she was “absolutely delighted and honoured to be shortlisted”.

“What an opportunity to fight for Scotland's interests in Europe,” she said.

At 24, physics student Kerr is the youngest of the candidates. He has received high-profile backing for his candidacy, with Justice Minister Humza Yousaf saying Kerr would be a "champion for young people" who would "work tirelessly" as an MEP to keep Scotland “part of the European family of nations".

Results of the ballot should be known not long after polls close.

Earlier this week, the SNP’s longest-serving MEP, Ian Hudghton, announced his retirement from frontline politics. Despite Smith’s place as the only incumbent, his position at the top of the list is not protected. If member wished, they could rank him last.