Edinburgh East’s new SNP MP Tommy Sheppard hails win

Tommy Sheppard, left, the new MP for Edinburgh East. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Tommy Sheppard, left, the new MP for Edinburgh East. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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SCOTLAND will no longer be “seen and not heard” at Westminster, new Edinburgh East MP Tommy Sheppard has pledged after being elected as one of the 56 SNP politicians heading to London.

The comedy club boss, who ousted Labour’s Sheila Gilmore with a 9106 majority, said the new group would take the SNP’s “bold, imaginative and radical” programme to the Commons and ensure Scotland’s voice was heard.

He said “something remarkable” had happened in the election.

“They will look back on May 7, 2015 as the date on which politics in Scotland changed completely and forever. Things will never ever be the same again.

“It is now clear that for the first time in our history we will send a majority of political representatives to the Union parliament whose first and only mandate will come from the communities who elected them and whose position will not be compromised by being part of the Westminster establishment.

“It is also clear that when you decide to put a bold, imaginative, radical prospectus in front of people and argue for it they will back you.”

He said the election had not been about independence. “That was decided last year and we accept that result,” he said. “But the message is, if we are to remain in the United Kingdom, Scotland will no longer be seen and not heard. Scotland’s voice will ring out in the Palace of Westminster and we will demand things for this country.”

His comments came as Nicola Sturgeon was cheered by onlookers as she passed through Edinburgh Airport on her way down to London to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day.

The First Minister laid a wreath at the Cenotaph to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives or been injured in conflict, and was met with rousing applause from passers-by as she rushed to catch her morning flight following a triumphant night at the polls for the SNP.

University tutor Christopher Cotter, 30, led the clapping after he caught sight of Ms Sturgeon flanked by police and party officials.

The Green Party supporter said: “I was wearing my Green Party T-shirt and she looked at me and just said, ‘Thanks.’

“There was quite a notable police presence and then it was like, ‘Who is that over there?’ I was a bit taken aback to see her, it was just so out of the blue.

“As she went past we all shared a wee moment. There was a murmur as she went through and then applause.

“I’m just really pleased that the whole political landscape has changed in Scotland. I think we’ve done a good job – although I would have liked a Green to be elected.”

Lawyer Joanna Cherry, who won Alistair Darling’s former seat of Edinburgh South West, promised to fight for an end to austerity and a halt to the renewal of Trident. She said: “I came into politics because I wanted to make a difference. My values are on the progressive left. The people of Scotland have spoken very loudly. It’s time for their voice to be held at Westminster.”

Ms Cherry – who won by 8135 votes – said her election as MP was “the most incredibly proud moment of my life”.

She added: “I’m so privileged to have been entrusted by the people of Edinburgh South West to be part of that voice and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.”

Michelle Thomson, the SNP’s victor in Edinburgh West, said the new contingent of SNP MPs would pursue progressive policies for the benefit of Scotland and the rest of the UK.

She said: “The shape of UK politics has changed. No longer will it simply shift between the two dominant parties.

“As well as a beginning this also marks an end – the end of the austerity agenda and relentless cuts to the benefits of our most vulnerable people and an end to freezing Scotland’s voice out of Westminster.”

Hannah Bardell, the SNP’s new MP for Livingston, who beat Labour’s Graeme Morrice by 32,736 votes to 15,893, said: “If this election has been about any one thing more than the other it has been about people’s right to hope. To hope that the voice of Scotland and the demand for more progressive policies across the UK will be heard at Westminster.”

And Linlithgow and East Falkirk victor Martyn Day – who overcame veteran Labour MP Michael Connarty by 32,055 votes to 19,121 – invoked the memory of Nationalist pioneer Billy Wolfe, who he said had been his mentor.

Mr Day said: “Billy more than anyone taught me about truth and honesty in politics. I will make a solemn 
promise that I will follow in Billy’s footsteps and fight against the renewal of Trident missiles.

“I pledge that I will fight as hard as I possibly can for every single constituent in this constituency. It doesn’t matter how they voted in the referendum, it doesn’t matter how they voted in this election, I’ll fight tooth and nail for their interests.

“I will fight tooth and nail to make Scotland’s voice heard at Westminster and make sure we have power.”

New Midlothian MP Owen Thompson, who overturned a 10,300 Labour majority to secure the seat with 24,453 votes, said ten years ago in Midlothian there was not a single SNP directly elected representative.

“Nine-and-a-half years ago I was elected as the first councillor for the SNP in Midlothian for so many years, and now I have been elected as the first SNP MP for Midlothian, joining our two MSPs Colin Beattie and Christine Grahame, and an SNP administration at Midlothian Council.

“What a difference ten years can make. This result is clearly nothing short of historic. I will stand up for everyone, regardless of their political view. I will do my very best to make sure that the voice of Midlothian is heard loudly and clearly.”

Evening News analysis: Big issues facing class of 2015 remain the same

With the dust beginning to settle after the political storm that was the 2015 general election, I’ve no doubt the results will be discussed this weekend in living rooms, cafes and bars throughout the country.

Here in Edinburgh and its surrounding regions, small businesses have a lot of new faces representing them at Westminster to get to know, and the FSB will do their utmost to facilitate this process.

The big issues facing the class of 2015 remain the same: sorting out the economy, securing the recovery, and backing business to create jobs and raise revenues. Over the recent months the FSB have taken this message personally to over 100 candidates throughout Scotland.  We were out in force at all the major parties’ Scottish spring conferences, inviting their candidates to sign up to our #ibacksmallbusiness campaign.

We also saw prospective parliamentarians make their case at a string of FSB hustings including here in Edinburgh with the help of the Evening News.

We’ve urged Scottish MPs to take action on the scandal of late payment, to develop a more competitive banking market and to ensure that big energy firms treat our members fairly.

“What can be done about late payment?” was the first question asked at our Edinburgh hustings and all of the candidates agreed that more needed to be done. The newly elected Edinburgh MP Michelle Thomson stressed that action was required on a “morally important” issue. I look forward to working with her on this vital issue.

With an eye on more powers coming to Holyrood, the FSB will continue to argue that constitutional change can’t tie firms up in red tape.

Every one of our politicians must consider the real-life impact of all their decisions on daily business life.

Small firms need certainty and stability to allow them to plan ahead for their businesses so that they can grow, create jobs, and secure the recovery. They want to see a clear plan and timeline for action on these issues we have raised.

I’ve met some but not all of the MPs who now represent Edinburgh and the Lothians so I very much look forward to doing so and to introducing them to our wide and varied FSB membership who form the backbone of the economy.

Gordon Henderson is senior development manager at the Federation of Small Businesses

The public’s view: ‘Rich will get richer, the poor will get poorer’

Duncan McIntosh, 69, Greendykes: “I am delighted with the results, even if it means a Tory government.”

Marion Anderson, 67, The Inch: “I’m not into them [the SNP] but I’ll hold judgement and see what happens. The Conservative government means another five years of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. I love Scotland no matter who gets in.”

Fabrizio DeFlaminii, 74, Edinburgh: “Good for the SNP, congrat-ulations. Whoever is in power they do the same thing. The Conservatives should have a different approach, and different people.”

Jemima Scott, 58, New Town: “I am happy for the SNP but I don’t know how it is going to pan out. The Conservatives won down south because there is no socialist voice. Labour is a poor imitation of what it used to be.”

Graham Anderson, 55, Holyrood: “I’m not an SNP fan, I like the Conserv-atives.”

Graham Ewart, 28, Leith: “I am disappointed at the Conservatives (getting in) but I am happy there is a strong voice for. Scotland. The SNP ran a positive campaign, the win is well deserved.”

Robert Tait, 67, Leith: “I am disappointed at Labour, I didn’t think they would get beaten this bad. I expected the Conservatives to win.”

Sue Duncan, 69, city centre: “There will be a bigger voice for Scotland now. I’m glad the SNP got in.”