Nats’ new boy - and girls - are still finding their feet in London

Westminster'House of Commons
Westminster'House of Commons

After nearly a month treading the corridors of power in Westminster, the Journal and Gazette caught up with the three new MPs elected to represent our patch.

Hannah Bardell won the Livingston seat with a majority of 16,843 and is now the SNP Westminster group spokeswoman on fair work and employment matters.

She worked with the SNP as part of the 2007 campaign and presented SNPtv online and also managed Alex Salmond’s constituency office and was employed outside politics too.

Hannah is well-versed in social media, something she has in common with not only the other 56 SNP MPs sent to London, but also First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who was in Westminster on June 1 and took time to have a ‘selfie’ taken with birthday girl Hannah.

Another highlight was meeting Susan Boyle at Bathgate Highland Games saying she was ‘starstruck’.

She is the first woman to represent Livingston. Her only ‘stumble’ so far has been to miss out an important word in her oath - “Queen” - meaning she had to take it twice.

In her maiden speech on June 8 she mentioned the various parts of her constituency where mining has given way to technology.

Martyn Day was (and still is) a West Lothian councillor.

Well-known in the area he won the Linlithgow and East Falkirk seat with a majority of 12,934.

Martyn spoke to the Journal and Gazette while having a coffee on the terrace at Westminster which he seems to frequent often according to his Twitter posts!

He said he hopes to have found a flat in London by next week, as his hotel costs are so high he will face paying a surcharge from his own pocket at the end of this month.

He said: “ The most that can be said about my digs this week is that it’s character building!

‘‘I am finding Westminster exciting but the geography is a bit confusing and, while this is a beautiful old building, it is not a modern working environment.

‘‘I have an office at 53 Parliament Street and would be happy to see anyone who is visiting London.

‘‘Sadly my office has no disabled access at present but I can always see people in Portcullis House or in the Houses of Parliament.

‘‘I feel privileged to see all the artwork behind the scenes and would like to show it off!

‘‘Although I am still looking for a constituency office, I’m happy to do home visits on Friday and Saturday.

‘‘With only one member of staff, it’s tricky even opening the mail but that will change.”

Martyn will be stepping down as local councillor.

Michelle Thomson represents Edinburgh West with a majority of 3210. She was MD of Business for Scotland during the independence referendum and it was no surprise that she was appointed to speak on business, innovation and skills for the SNP.

Michelle has had a hectic time since May 8 and her maiden speech last week gave a big mention of the Forth Bridge.

She said: “You are thrown in at the deep end and the days can be long. Fitting in eating and exercise is tricky!

‘‘There is a lot of support from other MPs and staff at Westminster have bent over backwards to help us all.

‘‘I am loving it but it is difficult to over-emphasise the privilege some MPs have enjoyed in their lives.”