NEW East Lothian SNP MP George Kerevan is preparing for his maiden speech in the House of Commons and looking for some help – from schoolchildren.
The former economics lecturer and journalist has written to schools across the constituency, hoping youngsters will offer him suggestions about what he should say in his first official words at Westminster.
I’m very willing to learn from the youngsters of East LothianGeorge Kerevan MP
Mr Kerevan, who won the seat from Labour at the May 7 general election, said: “Your maiden speech is meant to be non-controversial, thanking your predecessor – which I shall do – and then saying something about the constituency, explaining to other MPs and the nation what the place is like, what it’s good for and what it’s problems are.
“I thought it would be a good idea to ask the schools to give me their vision of how they see East Lothian and what they want to see in the future.
“It will be nice to know what young people who are going to grow up there think of the place and what their hopes are.”
Mr Kerevan won the East Lothian seat with a 6803 majority.
He said just before the election he had been to visit St Martin’s Primary School in Tranent to help hoist its Eco Flag.
He said: “The pupils were really interested in environmental issues in East Lothian and very keen on recycling and making sure there was no litter.
“They had a sense East Lothian is a beautiful place and they wanted to keep it that way.
“I’m very willing to learn from the youngsters of East Lothian.”
Mr Kerevan and the other new MPs will be sworn in at Westminster this week. The state opening of parliament and the Queen’s Speech, setting out the new government’s legislative programme, will follow on May 27.
The three or four days of debate on the proposed legislation will give new MPs their first chance to make their maiden speeches, but there will not be enough time for them all to do so. Mr Kerevan said: “It’s the second largest new intake of MPs across all the parties since the war.
“I’d like to do it sooner rather than later and get it over with.”
New MPs are also setting up constituency offices where local people will be able to contact them. Mr Kerevan said he hoped to have three or four scattered across the far-flung constituency.
And he also wants to try using Skype to take part in meetings of community councils.
He said: “I’m going to be in London Monday-Thursday which makes it difficult to attend meetings in the constituency during the week.
“East Lothian has a large number of community organisations which are important to hear from and give a voice to.
“I’d like to experiment. If we can find a community venue with a large screen and a projector so I can be seen, we might be able to link up through Skype – the MP in London and the community in East Lothian.
“But you need decent broadband too and there are patches of East Lothian where that’s problematic.
“One of my priorities is to work with the council to try to improve broadband.”