COUNCILLOR Heather Anderson will celebrate this festive season knowing that she will soon be starting a new job as Scotland’s sixth Member of the European Parliament. She also knows that it won’t be a job she’ll have for long as Brexit will occur on January 31 with the UK’s MEPs all made redundant.

Anderson was the fifth person on the list of candidates for the European elections as chosen by the SNP’s members. Alyn Smith, Christian Allard and Aileen Macleod were all duly elected in the landslide SNP win in those EU elections, with Margaret Ferrier in fourth place.

Smith is now the MP for Stirling and has resigned from the European Parliament, while Ferrier won back her Rutherglen and Hamilton West seat in the General Election, meaning that Anderson will be appointed by the UK Government.

“We have done all the paperwork which is now with the returning Officer for Scotland,” Ferrier told The National, “and Michael Gove has given assurances that it will all go through soon.

The National: Michael Gove

“I know that I will only be an MEP until January 31 but it is absolutely worth doing.

“Scotland has six seats in the Parliament and we cannot be one down for the last month of our time in the Parliament.

“These last few weeks are very much about Scotland’s unique position. It is vital that our case is heard by the other members of the European Parliament. We are not leaving, we are being dragged out against our will and part of our job as MEPs is to make sure that on January 31, we emphasise that this is a UK decision imposed on the people of Scotland who voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union.”

Can anyone achieve anything in such a short time? Anderson is determined to do so: “There is important work to be done in the committees. Even in the last week of January there will be scrutiny of the UK withdrawal Bill which will allow us to see that Bill from the other side, so to speak.”

Anderson does not think that Brexit can be stopped now, due to the size of the Conservative Party’s majority at the General Election.

She said: “The problem is that the UK had the election and England returned Boris Johnson with that majority so it looks very much as if we will be leaving the EU on January 31, and even if something was to stop the proi now, the result would be a disastrous No-Deal Brexit.

The National: Prime Minister Boris Johnson

“I honestly feel, however, that Scotland is not finished with Europe and that we are only going to be temporarily absent. This term of the European Parliament runs until 2024 and I genuinely think that we could be resuming our seats before the end of that term, as Scotland could resume our membership as an independent member state.

“Yes, we will lose our seats on January 31, but if there is a referendum next year or in 2021, if you allow a two year period for transition then we would be independent in 2022 or 2023. And after a referendum on whether we rejoin or not, we could be back in the EU before the end of this European Parliamentary term. I think our line on January 31 will be ’we’re no awa tae bide awa’.

Anderson fears for the post-Brexit future of Scotland: “I don’t think people in Scotland have completely understood what Brexit means and as an example, on January 31 we are going to be losing all our European rights.

“It also feels very much as if Johnson is heading for a no trade deal conclusion by the end of next year. All the dangers of Brexit are now clear and present and we are on a timer to the end of December next year.

“We also now know because of what has been happening in Westminster that it is all going to be dealt with in secret behind close doors and Scotland won’t be involved.

“We won’t know what’s going to happen to Scottish fisheries, for example, because it will all be done away from scrutiny.”

Anderson sees her immediate task as forging links and alliances with MEPs from other countries: “There is going to have to be ongoing diplomacy with the EU to show that Scotland is merely in temporary exile.”