PROUD OF BEING
Margaret Ferrier can’t remember a time when she didn’t support an independent Scotland.
Rutherglen and Hamilton West’s newest MP was a leading light in the local Yes campaign last year, and even as a member of the Labour Party in her youth, felt the country should go it alone.
As a child, she lived for a period in Spain, and those early memories are an insight into someone who never thought of herself as “British.”
“Unbeknown to me I’ve always been (a supporter of independence),” she says.
“I actually lived in Spain when I was younger and I always remember being asked by some of the children when I went to school, when they used to call me English, and the first thing I would correct them on was that I wasn’t English, I was Scottish, so I always had that Scottish identity, even from the age of 12.
“If I had been a member of the Labour Party last year I would probably have been in Labour for Independence, I would have been one of the people campaigning for independence within the Labour Party.
“I have always been very proud of being Scottish and I don’t see that changing.”
Margaret is sitting down with the Reformer for the first time since her stunning election victory last month for a chat.
Since overturning Labour’s massive majority, she and her 55 SNP colleagues have been hard at work settling into their new roles at Westminster.
It’s been a whirlwind few weeks for the 54- year- old, who admits she’s still coming to terms with her achievement.
“I think it’s still sinking in, it’s still sinking in for the other parties down in Westminster and I think the one member from each party are feeling slightly lonely.
“It’s a big place to get around, and just trying to find your way. The doorkeepers do a fantastic job just herding us around f rom lobby to lobby.”
Margaret and her SNP friends would have been forgiven for expecting a frosty reception when they arrived at Westminster.
The idea of a Labour minority propped up by the SNP proved a vote winner for the Conservatives, who seemed eager to paint the SNP as dangerous upstarts.
But politics is a funny business, and people from all parties usually find they have more in common away from the cut and thrust of Parliament than they might have expected.
And Margaret is no exception: “The staff, apparently they were really looking forward to us going down there.
“I think there have been times in the past where some of the members don’t go out their way to engage with the staff.
“Our six MP’s that were down always tried to do that, so they were very excited there was going to be a bigger group of us down and they’ve all been absolutely brilliant from door keepers to police to catering staff. “And we’ve had MP’s from other parties being quite inquisitive, especially the Conser v at i v e s wanting to know what we’re going to bring to the table.
“That’s been quite interesting. People see the chamber and what goes on in the chamber but they don’t actually see what goes on outside.
“There will be friendships forged across parties, because once you come out the chamber and put aside the politics, you might find common ground.
“We’ve found that the UK Labour party are not quite the same as the Scottish Labour MP’s, there is a difference. You probably heard of our adjournment debate on Trident, we found we had Jeremy Corbyn on our side of the chamber talking out in favour of what we were trying to bring forward. There is people down there we will be able to work with on all sides of the chamber.
“I think it’s slightly surprised me, but we’re sill learning. We were told you will make friendships, and we’ve done that.”
Margaret, who worked as a commercial sales manager for a construction company, was brought up in King’s Park and attended Holyrood secondary before moving to Mallorca for a year and a half.
She then stayed in Rutherglen before spending the 1990’s in Darnley. In 2000, she moved to Cambuslang where she’s been since.
Previously a member of the Labour party, in her early 20’s she was also a member of Amnesty International, and wrote to Government’s calling for the release of political prisoners worldwide.
Her journey towards the SNP was a drawn- out process. She left the Labour Party but continued to vote for them, before deciding the SNP
Campaign Margaret gets her point across during the election campaign
Ready to go Margaret Ferrier is loving life as an MP