Opponents of the Conservatives can no longer joke about “the last Panda”, says newly-elected East Renfrewshire MP Paul Masterton.
He was referring to a jibe that was regularly directed at Scottish Secretary David Mundell MP. when he was the only Tory representing Scotland in the House of Commons.
This, went the SNP joke, meant there were twice as many pandas in Scotland as there were Conservative MPs.
Now East Renfrewshire is politically “blue” again, after a year as SNP yellow and, before that, a rather longer spell as Labour red.
Mr Masterton made his maiden speech in the House of Commons today, and besides noting that the panda joke is now redundant also argued that “indyref2” was likewise “dead” – a position not shared by the Scottish Government.
However his speech began with a tribute to predecessor Kirsten Oswald, who had made history by winning East Ren for the SNP, eliminating the then Labour leader Jim Murphy in the process.
Mr Masterton said: “Kirsten was a diligent and conscientious MP, who did superb work as her party’s spokesperson for veterans.
“She achieved a great deal in her short time in this place with much patience and charm, and I wish her and her family well for the future.”
He also paid tribute to the man who had last held East Renfewshire for the Conservatives, J Allan Stewart, who sadly passed away in December.
The new MP added: “I know how much it would have meant to Allan to have seen East Ren turn blue again, and he and his wife Susie were in all our thoughts on election night.”
While arguing there is no further prospect of another independence referendum, meanwhile, he conceded that “the result of this election may not have been what these benches hoped”, although the position north of the Border was (for Conservatives) a little brighter.
Then he identified his two main bugbears, asserting: “Together, we will continue to fight against the destructive politics of socialism, and the divisive politics of nationalism”.
He added: “But we shall do so with an outstretched hand, not a clenched fist, because when the UK Government and the Scottish Government do come together in common cause, that partnership is capable of truly transformational change.”
He also delivered a solemn promise.
“For my part, I will first and foremost dedicate myself to improving the lives of people across East Renfrewshire and assisting them when life deals them a difficult hand or they just need someone to listen. “East Ren’s leafy reputation hides pockets of severe deprivation and daily struggle, people who feel left behind, and forgotten.
“It is those people who look to this place, and to each of us, to demonstrate the good that Government can do. We must not let them down.”