Perhaps the best way to describe the feeling of coming into the Scottish Parliament yesterday is comparing it to day one at a new school.
As the new MSPs gathered for the first time in the Garden Lobby of the Scottish Parliament the extent of the Scottish Conservative surge at the election hit home for me as I met my new colleagues, many of which I have never met before.
There were faces young and old, male and female, some I vaguely recognised from previous Conservative events and election literature, and some I didn’t know at all.
It’s one thing watching the numbers and percentages come in on polling day, but quite another to see people gathering in person in the way they did yesterday morning for the induction.
With every election that’s been since 1999, the voters have dealt a different hand to Scotland’s politicians – and this new parliament is perhaps the most interesting yet. Scottish politics is entering a new era. For our part ,the Scottish Conservatives are going to work hard to earn your trust and build a stronger Scotland.
Having worked in Holyrood prior to the election, as an adviser to Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Liz Smith, it was also a lovely feeling to see all the parliamentary staff again. A few of the new MSPs were perhaps wondering why I was getting preferential treatment and hugs from the security staff as I arrived.
For every new MSP it is a real honour to have been elected to serve their community and the sense I get from all of Holyrood’s new intake is just how keen they are to begin the real work.
My party the Scottish Conservatives have a real role to perform as Scotland’s new opposition. The blend of returning MSPs and a new generation of representative presents the exciting opportunity to reconnect with voters across not just Edinburgh and the Lothians, but Scotland too.
For the Scottish Parliament to work well, MSPs from across the political spectrum need to work together. During the election campaign I met many people and picked up numerous local issues and concerns. As an MSP I intend to get to work to try to take these forward and work for people across the whole region.
And what’s even better, I will have several more colleagues to help with that than anyone expected.
Miles Briggs is a Scottish Conservative MSP for the Lothians