SCOT­TISH

Rutherglen Reformer - - News -

were “more in tune with me” and started to lend them her vote.

Af­ter at­tend­ing a pre- elec­tion de­bate in 2011, she joined the party on the eve of their out­right Scot­tish elec­tion victory.

Since then, her r ise has been quick through the ranks. She was a can­di­date for Ruther­glen South in the 2013, and held a num­ber of roles in the lo­cal branch and re­gional li­ai­son com­mit­tees.

She was ini­tially re­luc­tant to take on the can­di­dacy for Ruther­glen and Hamil­ton West, but af­ter be­ing nom­i­nated, she saw off the chal­lenge from Coun­cil­lor Jim McGuigan.

Mar­garet ad­mits some po­ten­tial can­di­dates may have been put off by the prospect of tak­ing on a huge Labour ma­jor­ity

“Our area differed from other con­stituen­cies,” she says. “A lot of them had quite a lot of can­di­dates go­ing for­ward for West­min­ster, some had as many as eight or nine.

“It was just me and one of the lo­cal coun­cil­lors, Jim McGuigan. I don’t know whether that was be­cause ev­ery­one thought it was go­ing to be such a dif­fi­cult one to win be­cause it was such a Labour strong­hold. Maybe that didn’t at­tract that many peo­ple putting them­selves for­ward for the area.” While the elec­tion re­sult stunned many, Mar­garet reck­ons it merely re­flected what she was hear­ing on the doorstep: “Peo­ple ask if it was it a sur­prise on the night, look­ing back, no it wasn’t be­cause it tied in ex­actly with the re­sults we were get­ting when we went out to can­vass. “You have good days and bad days when you go out cam­paign­ing. What we were find­ing was some ar­eas we were go­ing into and it was kind of a 50-50 split, but again there were some ar­eas where you were way ahead.

“Some­times you are a bit con­cerned that peo­ple are maybe not telling you the truth on the doorstep, but it didn’t feel like that this time. It felt like you were gen­uinely get­ting a true an­swer from peo­ple.

“We were get­ting, a lot of the time, peo­ple were telling us they used to be Labour vot­ers and were never go­ing to vote for them again.

“They were lis­ten­ing to our mes­sage that we were go­ing to be the party that had a strong voice at West­min­ster for Scot­land, we were go­ing to speak up for Scot­land.”

Mov­ing for­ward, Mar­garet is keen to get stuck into her role as the SNP spokesper­son for the Scot­land Of­fice as well as set up her con­stituency of­fice.

Be­fore she goes, I ask if she’ll ever see Scot­land gain in­de­pen­dence, and her an­swer in un­equiv­o­cal.

But she doesn’t rule out a more fed­er­alised UK as a fore­run­ner to that.

“Oh yes, I think so. I would like to see that ( Scot­land be­com­ing in­de­pen­dent).

“I think it’s quite fas­ci­nat­ing to lis­ten to some of the MP’s from north­ern Eng­land as well who would like more of a say and they’re talk­ing about th­ese mi­cro-may­ors and so, yeah, I can see that (a more fed­eral sys­tem).

“If Scot­land does get more pow­ers through more de­vo­lu­tion, maybe Wales as well, then north­ern Eng­land will want the same and maybe we will see that.

“Ob­vi­ously the West­min­ster estab­lish­ment will be fight­ing against that, they will want to keep all the power cen­tralised in Lon­don, but I don’t think that will be healthy in the long run.

“I think we will see changes not just in Scot­land but the rest of the UK as well.”

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