Renfrewshire’s two recently-elected SNP MPs have has their maiden speeches in Westminster.
Gavin Newlands, member for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, joked with others that he has “brought hauners” down to London.
Paisley and Renfrewshire South MP Mhairi Black mocked George Osborne new policy in axing housing benefit for under-21s, Mhairi says she is now only 20-year-old whom chancellor is helping with housing.
She said: “My housing [in London] is subsidised by the state … but in this budget the chancellor abolished any housing benefit for anyone under the age of 21,” she said. “We are now in the ridiculous situation whereby, because I am an MP, not only am I the youngest, but I am also the only 20-year-old in the whole of the UK who the chancellor is prepared to help with housing.”
She calls on Labour to join the Scottish National party in mounting an effective opposition to the Tories.
Gavin Newlands also attacked the Government’s welfare reform and austerity programme and vowed to fight against the “economic and political folly of the UK Government’s budget.”
He said: “Mr Speaker, we were sent here for a purpose: to stand up for Scotland. We are here, in numbers, to argue that there is an alternative to austerity and to find common cause with anybody in this House willing to chart a progressive route.”
Gavin and Mhairi are two of 50 new SNP MPs to make their maiden speech, but Black, the representative for Paisley and Renfrewshire South teased her colleagues for making connections between their constituencies and Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns. Trumping them, Black announced that the Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace was born in Elderslie.
But despite her criticisms of the Tories and Labour in her speach, Ms Black also paid tribute to her Labour predecessor, former shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander, as is traditional in maiden speeches.
She said she wanted to thank him for the “good” he had done in the constituency, adding that she commended him for “the dignified way that he handled himself on what must have been a very difficult election night. He did himself proud and he did his party proud and I wish him the best for the future”.
Gavin Newlands, member for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, joked that he has “brought hauners” down to London.
He made the quip about the big team of 56 SNP MPs as he delivered his speech to the House of Commons on Monday evening.
Mr Newlands, the first Nat MP to win the constituency, paid tribute to Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath member Roger Mullin, who stood for the Paisley seat 25 years ago.
He said: “The fact that it was our first victory has not been for lack of effort over the years. My honourable friend the member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath contested the seat in the 1990 by-election – he fought a brilliant and memorable campaign, despite the fact that he was hindered by an eager but occasionally ineffective 10-year-old boy called Gavin.
“I should have been better, Mr Speaker.
“Fast forward a quarter of a century however and here I stand – and as we say back home, ‘I’ve brought hauners.’ Not only is this House belatedly, but hugely, enhanced by the presence of my honourable friend the member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, but we stand proudly with another 54 talented and committed colleagues who are ready to argue the case against austerity – the new Thatcherism.”
Mr Newlands also paid tribute to his predecessor, former Labour MP Jim Sheridan who served the area for 14 years, and reminded the House of Commons that Glasgow Airport is in Renfrewshire, “but still the Weegies want to lay claim to it.”