Glasgow South MP Stewart McDonald didn’t mince words this week as he settled into his new Westminster role.
He warned Prime Minister David Cameron not to be “cloth-eared” when the Scottish lion roars in the house; that a new Scotland Bill expected to be mentioned in the Queen’s speech next week must have bite, not just empty words; and he warned sole Labour MP this side of Hadrian’s wall, Ian Murray, that his ‘voice’ for Scotland would be reduced to a whimper.
Reflecting on the SNP Westminster influx, he said: “We expected to do well but it was still a surprise to return such a clean sweep across Glasgow — and not just for the SNP. I think a lot of the other parties were surprised at such a result for Scotland.”
And he had a word for Scotland’s lone Labour MP, ‘last man standing’ Ian Murray, who retained his Edinburgh South seat, saying: “Ian Murray has said the SNP would achieve nothing in Westminster. Well, what influence does he think he’ll bring to bear as the only Labour MP in Scotland?” He went on: “It’s important that we protect our country from a Tory government and it would be a pretty cloth-eared Prime Minister that would ignore us.”
Referring to a Scotland Bill expected to be mentioned in the Queen’s speech next week, McDonald warned it would have to pay more than just lip service to a commitment to new powers for Scotland, adding: “It must meet expectations on greater powers and not just words.”
The new SNP MP was still “hotdesking” when he took time out to talk to The Extra. “I still need to sort out an office and wade through piles of mail and loads of emails,” he said. “I’m also looking for an affordable place in Shawlands for my constituency office.”
The Westminster newbie spoke of how he was told by the doorman that he was the chambers’ ‘first foot’ and fell for a rookie joke, too.
He said: “The doorman told me I was first in the chamber and warned me not to sit down or it would force a by-election. I think that was the parliamentary equivalent of being told to go for a long stand or a tin of tartan paint.”