There was little enough time to celebrate and certainly no resting following the Election as it was off to Queensferry on the Saturday for a photo-shoot with my now fellow MPs and the First Minister. Although the weather was a bit dreich, what a wonderful sight it was to see so many newly elected SNP MPs, with such a diverse range of talents, skills, and backgrounds.
Sunday was spent hurriedly packing for my first foray to Westminster and working through the hundreds of emails I had received in the two days since being elected!
I joined a large number of the new incumbents at Glasgow Airport for the flight to London under the glare of the mass media, which followed us all the way to our photocall outside the Palace of Westminster. We literally stopped traffic and I was so proud to be part of what really felt like history in the making.
The next few days were rather full-on; learning about procedure, trying to find my way round the maze of corridors that is the House of Commons, and just trying to get used to the idea that this is will be my place of work for the next 5 years. It is certainly a life far removed from what I am used to and, together with the vast media interest, many of us felt like rabbits caught in headlights. One thing that was very clear was that our presence is certainly going to help wake Westminster up!
After what felt like a fleeting visit back home, it was back down to London for the start of Parliamentary business proper.
On Monday morning I made my first visit to No.10 as part of a cross-party petition calling for the use of proportional representation for future UK General Elections. Although the SNP has won all but 3 of the seats in Scotland at this election via the First Past the Post system, we fundamentally believe that PR is the best way of ensuring the votes cast by the electorate are fairly reflected in those who represent them in the Parliament and Government.
On Wednesday I was officially sworn in as the MP for Central Ayrshire, undertaking my oath in English and Scots, the first MP to do so. Later in the day, I was delighted to be appointed the SNP Westminster Group’s Spokesperson on Health.
My swearing in and my first interview on College Green can be viewed at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b05wcnx4/politics-scotland-20052015 (from 50 mins onwards)
I am now in the process of setting up my local office which will be in Irvine; co-located with local MSP Margaret Burgess at 14 Eglinton Street. Tel no. 01294 276730.
It will take some time to establish all the necessary staff and lines of communication but any constituent can drop into the office to raise an issue or make an appointment and I am hoping to hold my first surgery shortly. In the meantime, I can be reached at email@example.com