Scotland politics

'First day of school': meeting Holyroods newest MSPs

New MSPs Image copyright PA
Image caption Many of Holyrood's new MSPs gathered for a photograph with departing Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick

Scotland's new class of MSPs have begun arriving at Holyrood. In total there are 51 new representatives arriving at the Scottish Parliament, and BBC Scotland met some of them as they checked in for their first day of work.

Jeane Freeman, SNP

Image caption Jeane Freeman has already been part of one Scottish government

Despite being newly elected, Jeane Freeman has more political experience than many of her fellow MSPs.

She served as a senior advisor to First Minister Jack McConnell, and has also served on the Scottish Police Services Authority Board and the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland and chaired the the National waiting Times Centre board.

Ms Freeman helped found the Women for Independence movement during the 2014 referendum campaign, and has now won the Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley seat with a majority of over 6,000.

She said: "I'm excited and a bit nervous. It's one thing to have worked in the parliament before, it's quite another to be here as an MSP. Not so much finding my way around, more getting my head around all the arrangements and getting my feet under the table.

"I'm delighted to be here, it's a huge privilege, and I'm looking forward to beginning the work to represent the people of Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley."

Oliver Mundell, Conservatives

Image caption Oliver Mundell was given advice by his MP dad David before his first day

Oliver Mundell's may be a fresh face at Holyrood, but it's a rather familiar one - given the family resemblance with his father David Mundell, once a Tory MSP and now the Scottish Secretary.

Mr Mundell Jr took the hotly-contested constituency of Dumfriesshire, which had been Labour's safest seat in 2011 but developed into a close fight between the Tories and the SNP.

He said: "I walked into the count thinking we had a chance, because we'd fought a really effective local campaign and a lot of voters were coming over to support us in the final days of the campaign, but it wasn't ballots were all bundled up on the table that we knew we'd got over the line."

Mr Mundell said his father had advised him to enjoy his first days at Holyrood, but to "take stock before throwing myself too much into things on day one".

He added: "I'm feeling quite confident, but its a mix of excitement and nerves on the first day."

Daniel Johnson, Labour

Image caption Mr Johnson was supported in his campaign by leader Kezia Dugdale

Daniel Johnson was one of Scottish Labour's few success stories on election night, having taken Edinburgh Southern from SNP incumbent Jim Eadie.

Labour had targeted the seat as a key battleground, with leader Kezia Dugdale out on the streets alongside Mr Johnson on the first and last days of the campaign.

He said arriving at Holyrood was like "the first day at school".

Mr Johnson said: "What I'm keen to do is build a link between people and politics - we need to put people right at the heart of politics.

"Over the last few years politics has got very noisy, it's all been about the big constitutional things. It needs to get back to real people.

"The Scottish Parliament was founded on the principle that it was about bringing politics closer to people, and that's what I want to focus on."

Ross Greer, Greens

Image copyright Andrew Milligan / PA
Image caption Ross Greer (second from right) is one of six Green MSPs elected to Holyrood

Ross Greer has become Scotland's youngest-ever MSP at the age of 21.

The West of Scotland list MSP had just started a psychology degree at university when he landed a full-time job with the Yes Scotland campaign during the 2014 independence referendum.

He said: "I put uni on pause for that, and I'm obviously having to put it on pause a wee bit longer. I'll probably go back eventually, but I've had a fair bit of political experience already and an opportunity I couldn't pass up."

Mr Greer said there was an "overwhelming sense of relief" when he was elected, and says he and his Green MSPs now "hold the balance of power" at Holyrood.

He said: "No-one was really expecting the plot twist of the SNP to have a minority and the Greens to end up with the balance of power, so it's looking like a pretty exciting start to a pretty great five years.

"The opportunity I've got is proving that young people aren't just 'the future', as part of some silly cliche, that we're here now and we're an important part of the decision making process. I hope I can prove to other young people that they should get involved in politics as early as possible."

Alex Cole-Hamilton, Lib Dems

Image caption Alex Cole Hamilton took Edinburgh Western for the Lib Dems

Alex Cole-Hamilton has been seeking election for the Lib Dems for over a decade - he was even featured on the front cover of the party's 2003 Holyrood manifesto.

Having triumphed in Edinburgh Western, a seat taken from the SNP, Mr Cole-Hamilton said he was looking forward to "getting stuck in".

He said: "This is a place that I've wanted to be for a long time. It's great to be here.

"Without an overall majority, the SNP can beheld to account, we can meaningfully scrutinise legislation, which arguably we didn't have in the last parliament.

"I think that means the role of opposition politicians is going to be far more important in this session."

The father-daughter duo

Holyrood also has a new father-daughter team - albeit on different sides of the chamber.

John Finnie's daughter Ruth Maguire has won a seat in Cunninghame South for the SNP - the party Mr Finnie quit last term for the Greens.

Mr Finnie said: "We'll never fall out - we'll have differences. We'll probably just never talk about politics in great detail.

"The public expect parliamentarians to work together, we hope that there'll be joint working not just in the committees but also in the chamber."

Ms Maguire added: "I have asked him not to embarrass me, or do any embarrassing dad stuff. I was horrified to find out he's only a few doors down from me in the corridor.

Last term's parliament had another father-daughter duo in Michael and Siobhan McMahon - but both lost their seats in the election.

Scotland's new MSPs in full - those who have previously served at Westminster or Holyrood are marked with a star.


Tom Arthur (Renfewshire South) Ash Denham (Edinburgh Eastern) Mairi Evans (Angus North and Mearns) Kate Forbes (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) Jeane Freeman (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) Emma Harper (South Scotland) Claure Haughey (Rutherglen) Fulton MacGregor (Coatbridge and Chryston) Rona Mackay (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) Ben Macpherson (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) Ruth Maguire (Cunninghame South) Gillian Martin (Aberdeenshire East) Ivan McKee (Glasgow Provan) Gail Ross (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) Shirley-Anne Somerville* (Dunfermline) Maree Todd (Highlands and Islands)


Jeremy Balfour (Lothian) Miles Briggs (Lothian) Alexander Burnett (Aberdeenshire West) Donald Cameron (Highlands and Islands) Finlay Carson (Galloway and West Dumfries) Maurice Corry (West Scotland) Maurice Golden (West Scotland) Jamie Greene (West Scotland) Alison Harris (Central Scotland) Liam Kerr (North East Scotland) Gordon Lindhurst (Lothian) Dean Lockhart (Mid Scotland and Fife) Edward Mountain (Highlands and Islands) Oliver Mundell (Dumfriesshire) Douglas Ross (Highlands and Islands) Graham Simpson (Central Scotland) Alexander Stewart (Mid Scotland and Fife) Adam Tomkins (Glasgow) Annie Wells (Glasgow) Brian Whittle (South Scotland)


Daniel Johnson (Edinburgh Southern) Monica Lennon (Central Scotland) Richard Leonard (Central Scotland) Pauline McNeill* (Glasgow) Anas Sarwar* (Glasgow) Colin Smyth (South Scotland)


Ross Greer (West Scotland) Mark Ruskell* (Mid Scotland and Fife) Andy Wightman (Lothian)

Lib Dems

Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western) Mike Rumbles* (North East)

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