New MPs take part in first Westminster business

Scotland’s new MPs have been taking part in the first parliamentary business to happen since they won their seats last Thursday. They re-elected Glasgow North East MP Michael Martin as Speaker of the House of Commons.


When you are 25, you are sometimes still finding your way in the world. Not Jo Swinson. In political terms, she has arrived. After winning the East Dunbartonshire seat for the Liberal Democrats she becomes the youngest MP in the Commons. Already the work’s piling up, although she does not have an office or a phone yet.

Also just in the door are two new SNP MPs who flanked Alex Salmond in the Commons today, as the SNP leader set out his party’s priorities for the year ahead.

Angus MacNeil MP said: “I think I’m just finding my feet, finding my way around. Quickly I’m trying to get back to the Western Isles. There are a number of issues I’ve got to deal with there. So my main focus isn’t at Westminster, it’s in the Western Isles.”

But Westminster was the main focus for most MPs today, old and new. The only Commons business in a short session, the unopposed re-election of Glasgow North East MP Michael Martin as Speaker. He was, by tradition, dragged reluctantly to the chair, dating back to the days when Speakers often had their careers and bodies cut short by having their heads chopped off on the Monarch’s orders.

Asked what sort of impression new member Jo Swinson got from her first experience of the Commons chamber, she said: “It felt strange sitting there. All the new members were unsure what to do. What happens now, what’s the procedure.”

The procedure now is that the MPs elected on May the fifth start getting sworn in. It will begin tomorrow, continuing on Monday.

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