Meet the new SNP MPs marching on Westminster

The SNP's Deidre Brock won in Edinburgh North and Leith. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
The SNP's Deidre Brock won in Edinburgh North and Leith. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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OF SCOTLAND’S 59 MPs, 50 will be new to Westminster, representing a massive and sudden influx of new blood, though many have been involved in politics and campaigning for a number of years.

They have wiped out, with massive majorities, politicians with sometimes decades of experience in Westminster, with the promise of fresh air.

George Kerevan celebrates his East Lothian victory. Picture: Gordon Fraser

George Kerevan celebrates his East Lothian victory. Picture: Gordon Fraser

From a comedy club owner to a breast cancer surgeon, a television producer to a 20-year-old student, the new members, all SNP, represent a cross-section of the independence movement, both during the referendum and decades before.

Some have been members of the party since they were teenagers while others came from parallel Yes campaigning groups such as Women for ­Independence.

A number are currently sitting councillors in corners such as South Ayrshire, Glasgow City Council, Aberdeen City, Highland and Edinburgh. Others have arts backgrounds, whether through degrees at the former Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama or careers in television and the media.

And some new MPs have worked for the SNP either in local offices across the country or in the national executive, such as secretary Patrick Grady. A number have community organising backgrounds, working on issues such as homelessness, which has driven campaigns.

A total of 18 of the new SNP block are women, or 32 per cent, twice the level from 2010. So who are our new MPs?

Introducing: the student aged 20, the comedy impresario, the surgeon and the ex-Scotsman executive

The new intake of SNP MPs includes:

Mhairi Black, Paisley & Renfrewshire South

The 20-year-­old Politics and Public Policy student at the University of Glasgow has made history by becoming the youngest MP to be elected to Westminster since the 17th century.

Black has gathered quite a following since she took an active role in campaigning for the Yes side in the independence referendum.

As well as becoming a key public speaker at the time, she was involved in the Margo Mobile, which reached out to some of Scotland’s most deprived communities before the September vote.

The Paisley native says she has always been politically ­motivated and took part in protests from a young age, including the anti­-Iraq War marches in 2005.

Tommy Sheppard, Edinburgh East

From running The Stand to taking a stand, Tommy Sheppard won his seat in Edinburgh East. The SNP candidate was a Labour councillor in London for eight years and was Assistant General Secretary of the Labour Party in the 1990s.

A staunch Yes voter during the referendum, he recently joined the SNP after sitting on the National Council of the Scottish Independence Convention. He also works for the Scottish Comedy Agency.

Sheppard opposes austerity and seeks further devolution for Scotland. During the campaign, he also opposed further oil fracking in Scotland.

Ian Blackford, ­Ross, Skye and Lochaber

It was third time lucky for Ian Blackford, who stood for election twice in the 1990s. At the time, he was treasurer of the SNP, though he left that role after a disagreement with Alex Salmond in 2000.

He has spent most of his career working in financial services and currently runs a consultancy firm with his wife. He is also the chairperson of North West Skye Recreational Association and the director of a community radio station.

He says he will campaign for land reform, digital investment and the living wage.

Deidre Brock,­ Edinburgh North & Leith

Australian Deidre Brock moved to Scotland in 1996. The SNP candidate was elected to Edinburgh City Council in 2007 and is currently deputy Lord Provost of Edinburgh.

Before entering politics, Brock studied Performing Arts. She is a board member for Edinburgh International Festival Council and Creative Edinburgh and has also served as convenor of Culture and Leisure for the city.

During the campaign, she promised to protect pensions from further cuts and backed a rise in the minimum wage.

Brendan O’Hara,­ Argyll and Bute

Television producer Brendan O’Hara won his seat more than 20 years after he last ran for election.

He was an SNP candidate in the 1987 and 1992 general elections and produced the series Road To Referendum for STV amongst other shows and is currently working on a series about Tom Weir.

George Kerevan, East Lothian

George Kerevan is a journalist and economist, as well as a former Edinburgh city councillor. This is his second time running as an SNP candidate after joining the party in 1996. He was associate editor of The Scotsman for nine years and lectured in economics at Napier University. He has sat on the boards of many arts organisations and has produced several documentaries.

During the election, he has fought against zero­ hour contracts and promised to campaign for more hi­-tech jobs for East Lothian.

Hannah Bardell, Livingston

Hannah Bardell left a job at GMTV to work with the SNP on its 2007 campaign. She managed Alex Salmond’s constituency office for three years, before working at the Edinburgh consulate of the US state department.

She has also served as a member of the Grampian Chamber of Commerce policy committee, Business for Scotland and the Aberdeen performing arts development commitee.

She has said she will be “a pro­-independence MP” and is committed to equality, mobilising many women to become involved in her campaign.

Corri Wilson, ­Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock

Corri Wilson is currently a local councillor for Ayr East. She has been a community activist for many years, serving on her local school boards, community council and NHS partnership forum. She led the Yes Alliance group for the Referendum and is director of Septembayr (the Ayrshire Festival), Ayrshire Housing and Ayr Renaissance.

Her campaign has focused on issues including austerity, human trafficking, the Prestwick Spaceport and rural internet availability.

Michelle Thomson, Edinburgh West

Michelle Thomson graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama in 1985 and went into work as a professional musician soon after. She went back into education and gained a Masters in IT, working in a variety of senior roles. In 2009 she set up her own business in property and spent two years as managing director of Business for Scotland. Thomson is relatively new to politics, having become active during the referendum.

Phillipa Whitford, Central Ayrshire

Phillipa Whitford, originally from Troon, was a consultant breast surgeon and like a number of the newly-elected SNP MPs became an active politician after becoming passionate about the referendum.

In May she made a speech addressing Women for Independence, attacking private ­sector reforms in the English NHS.

Callum McCaig, Aberdeen South

Callum McCaig, SNP group leader for Aberdeen City Council grew up in Aberdeen and attended Edinburgh University where he graduated with an MA in politics.

He served in positions in the council administration including convener of the licensing committee and convener of the education, culture and sport committee before becoming one of the youngest council leaders in the country in 2011 at the age of 26.

Paul Monaghan, Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross

Paul Monaghan First joined the SNP in 1994. He is currently the director of Highland Homeless Trust, which is a charity that provides specialist housing and support services to vulnerable people.

Monaghan was educated at Inverness Royal Academy and at the University of Stirling where he gained a first class honours degree in psychology and a PhD in social policy.

Monaghan founded ‘Yes Highland’ that campaigned during the referendum.

Natalie McGarry, Glasgow East

Glasgow East SNP activist, Natalie McGarry won a seat in Parliament with a majority of 24,116 votes. Delighted with the result, McGarry tweeted, “My team, you take so much of the credit. We ran a clean, positive campaign. Voters rejected negativity.”

McGarry is a co-­founder of the group ‘Women for Independence’ which was established in 2012 and aimed to represent all female voices at both sides of the referendum debate. Born and raised in Fife, McGarry studied law at the University of Aberdeen and works as a policy adviser for a voluntary sector organisation.