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Meet your new Scottish MPs: #37 Steven Paterson, Stirling JULY 29TH, 2015 - GREG RUSSELL
STEVEN PATERSON became the first SNP MP ever elected in Stirling when he emerged from the General Election with a majority of 10,480 over his Labour rival Johanna Boyd.
The former councillor and deputy leader of Stirling Council, whose background is press and media relations and tourism, had a lifelong interest in politics, and when he saw Scotland from afar in the 1990s when he was in Canada, he decided to join the SNP on his return.
“I came back and joined the party in 1996 and got involved in campaigns and so on, and the rest is history,” he said. “I’d been to Westminster once before in 2009, and I worked for Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford in the Scottish Parliament, so I had a good understanding of how things worked.
“There’s maybe not as much difference as people would think between Westminster, Holyrood and a council chamber. It’s mainly just different rules and conventions, but essentially they work in a similar way trying to achieve the same aims.”
Paterson said he had few butterflies in the build-up to his maiden speech, but confessed: “To be honest when I stood up, then I got them. I was glad to get on with it by that time and I didn’t realise until I sat down how glad I was I’d done it and got it out the way.
“Everybody has two questions to ask you. The first one is ‘have you made your maiden speech?’ and the second is ‘have you found a flat yet?’ So I was glad just to get these things sorted out.”
Paterson is full of praise for his 55 SNP colleagues, many of whom he knew before they were all elected.
“It’s incredible – we’re a really tight bunch,” he said. “It is great to be part of such a strong team and we’re making a big difference in here, we’re dominating the agenda. There really aren’t any weaklings among the 56. They’ve all got a lot to contribute and it feels like we’ve taken the place by storm because we’re such a united unit.
“Labour are a leaderless shower at the moment – they’re all over the place. They simply can’t operate as an opposition party and we’re doing it for them – and doing it better than they can.”
Paterson said his first priority was to the people of Stirling who had done him the honour of sending him to Westminster.
He added: “We’ve got to prove we’re a competent opposition, that we’re raising the points that need to be raised. We’re going to take our position as an opposition party seriously.
“We’ve got to take people’s trust on board and prove that we’re worthy of it – and we’ve already seen results with the Government having to reverse their position several times in the face of the opposition we’ve provided.”
Running and martial arts take up Paterson’s time away from work, but he admitted that life in the House of Commons had spoiled his routine. “I’m not where I should be with my running and karate. It’s very hard to get into a routine with this lifestyle, but I’m going to have to make sure that I do.”
Maiden speech in Westminster 1 July 2015_
Steven Paterson MP