MP making mark at Westminster

SNP MP Owen Thompson
SNP MP Owen Thompson

Two months on since his barnstorming win at the general election and SNP MP Owen Thompson has been a busy man.

That will come as no surprise to those who know that the former leader of Midlothian Council first started on the campaign trail delivering leaflets at the age of eight.

Such was his enthusiasm that the SNP activist went on to become Scotland’s youngest councillor at the 2005 Loanhead by-election.

In 2013 he became leader of Midlothian Council.

Speaking to the Advertiser on Saturday, the rising politician explained that he has already been making his presence known at Westminster: “There are 56 of us in the group and as a depute whip I am taking on the role of trying to support the other members. I particularly wanted that because of the experience I have - having done almost 10 years at the council and being the party’s local government convener.

“I’m also on the Committee of Selection which appoints all of the other committees. That has been a great experience. Taking the roll gives you an insight into the mechanics of how things happen a lot more than simply being a backbencher or even a spokesperson - I have to go to the speaker to find out what order things are happening in any debate. When you see that part happening you see how you are forming the afternoon sessions, deciding how many people are going to speak and how long we want them to speak for.

“Making my maiden speech was a highlight and I am starting to get into the process of asking questions - to the energy minister last week and hopefully to the home secretary next week.”

Optimistic for the future following the landslide victory that the SNP enjoyed at the recent general election, Mr Thompson is nevertheless frustrated at Westminster’s “broken promises” following the Scottish independence referendum result.

He said: “We respected the outcome but they have not. Promises that were made, for example that the UK would deliver the closest thing it could to a federal state by essentially delivering a modern form of home rule, are now being completely ignored.

“Labour was founded on the principal of a home rule for Scotland and now it seems to have forgotten that. People will realise that the only way to get what they want for Scotland is independence.”