THE SNP MEP Alyn Smith is set to become the vice-president of a bloc wielding almost 10 per cent of the votes in the new European parliament.

Mr Smith, 45, who was first elected to Brussels in 2004, is today expected to become head of the 11-strong European Free Alliance (EFA) of small Nationalist parties.

Mr Smith is the longest serving member of the EFA, and it is the SNP’s turn to hold the position.

More significantly, as president of the EFA , Mr Smith is automatically vice-president of the larger Green-EFA bloc, which has 69 of the 751 MEPs in the parliament, giving it a powerful say in decisions.

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Mr Smith told an EFA meeting: “Having been here for 15 years, I will put myself forward for president of the group - to continue your good work and to make a commitment to stopping Brexit.”

He later told The National: “This is me making a commitment to the group, but it is also the group making a commitment to us.

“It is a commitment in terms of ‘we want Scotland to stay’. What better way to underline that than by making a Scottish MEP EFA president.”

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Mr Smith was one of three SNP MEPs elected last month in an election which saw his party get 38 per cent of the vote.

Former SNP MEP Ian Hudghton was EFA vice president from 2009.

The small group also contains Nationalists from Belgium, Latvia, Galicia and Catalonia, plus Plaid Cymru’s one MEP.