Scotland politics

Take 7 facts about the SNP's new MPs

With 49 SNP MPs being sworn into the House of Commons for the first time, what do we know about the class of 2015? Here are seven facts.....


1. The generation game....

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mhairi Black (front middle) is the youngest SNP MP and Marion Fellows (second left) is the oldest of the new nationalist intake

The eldest of the new SNP MPs is old enough to collect her bus pass, the youngest is still to sit her final university exams. The full range of the age spectrum is represented on the SNP bench with Marion Fellows, aged 66, and Mhairi Black - aged 20. The Paisley and Renfrewshire South MP is the youngest since 1667. She is not the only fresh-faced member of the team, being one of eight new SNP MPs under 30.


2. From townhall to Whitehall

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Image caption The city chambers in Glasgow is home to Glasgow Council, is Scotland's largest local authority

Many of the new MPs will be more familiar with council chambers than the halls of Westminster. A total of 18 have represented local authorities, including two former Labour councillors - George Kerevan and Tommy Sheppard - who left the party before joining the SNP. Also, Anne McLaughlin was an MSP at the Scottish Parliament between 2007 and 2011.


3. Fast-track

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Image caption SNP newby Kirsten Oswald beat MP of nearly 20 years Jim Murphy in the Renfrewshire East seat

Kirsten Oswald, the newly elected member for East Renfrewshire, decided to join the SNP less than a year ago. The human resources professional signed up in June 2014 during the Scottish independence campaign, making her one of the newest members to be elected on the party ticket.


4. Easy riders and TV bulletins

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Image caption Motorbike enthusiast Chris Law has powered his way down to Westminster

A Himalayan motorbike expedition leader, an actress and comedy club owner are among the previous occupations of the SNP new recruits.

Chris Law, the MP for Dundee West, runs expeditions in the Himalayas as well as his own small business in the financial sector.

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, the MP for Ochil and South Perthshire, was an actress before turning to politics - even persuading former SNP leader Alex Salmond to make a cameo in one of her productions.

Tommy Sheppard, MP for Edinburgh East, founded the Stand Comedy Club in the mid-90s following a stint as a labour councillor in Hackney and assistant general secretary of Scottish Labour.

Also among the new recruits are four teachers, at schools, colleges and universities; four lawyers, including Joanna Cherry QC, the MP for Edinburgh South West; three doctors, which include breast surgeon Phillippa Whitford, MP for Central Ayrshire.

And the world of television and media is represented. Both Hannah Bardell MP (Livingston) and Brendan O'Hara (Argyll and Bute) have worked as television producers, George Kerevan was a journalist, as was John Nicolson - a former BBC and ITV news presenter before becoming MP for East Dunbartonshire.


5. Celtic connections

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Image caption Each MP takes an oath and then signs their name in the House of Commons chamber

As MPs are sworn in to the House of Commons at least one of the new recruits is expected to take their oath in Gaelic, following in the footsteps of veteran SNP MP Angus Brendan MacNeil.


6. We are family...

Image caption Kenneth Gibson is an MSP at Holyrood and his wife Patricia is a new MP at Westminster

While a newcomer to Westminster, Patricia Gibson, MP for North Ayrshire and Arran, is no stranger to the world of politics, being the wife of Kenneth Gibson MSP. Perhaps the couple will take some tips from Deputy SNP leader Stewart Hosie MP and his wife, health secretary Shona Robison, the other Westminster/Holyrood couple in the SNP.

Also keeping it in the family is Stuart Donaldson, newly elected MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine. His mother is Scotland's public health minister Maureen Watt, who said her son had not been interested in politics until the independence referendum last year.


7. The social network....

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Image caption Mhairi Black - She is the youngest MP and the must-follow politician on Twitter

While former SNP leader Alex Salmond has a whopping 167, 000 twitter followers, rookie Mhairi Black is hot on his tails with 23,900 followers at the last count. Those wanting to follow the politics student's take on her first days at Westminster should make sure they are on the right page though- there are at least two "spoof" Mhairi Black accounts.

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