Bute’s new MP, Brendan O’Hara, has paid tribute to his predecessor Alan Reid in his maiden speech in the House of Commons.
Mr O’Hara, one of the SNP’s 56 Westminster MPs, was elected to represent Argyll and Bute courtesy of a majority of 8,473 votes in the May 7 poll, ending the 14-year hold on the constituency enjoyed by Mr Reid and the Liberal Democrats.
Speaking in the debate on the Queen’s Speech, Mr O’Hara said: “Mr Reid was a hard-working, affable and popular Member of Parliament whose defeat in May was no reflection on him as an individual, but was rather a verdict by the Scottish people on the Liberal Democrats’ decision to go into coalition with the Conservatives in 2010, coupled with a burning desire on the part of the people of Scotland for radical change.
“I take this opportunity to wish Mr Reid all the best for his future.”
Mr O’Hara’s speech, which also touched on the need for parties on all sides to work constructively in the light of the election result, has won him wide praise from several quarters.
He said: “Despite the great political differences that exist between us - differences that will be fiercely debated over the next five years - it is essential to recognise from the outset that we come to this place in a spirit of mutual respect and co-operation. Each of us comes with that most important qualification - public support. I sincerely hope that that will be the hallmark of our time in this place.
“We come to this place in a spirit of mutual respect and co-operation, but Members should be in no doubt that we are determined to achieve what the people of Scotland elected us to do.
“I am sure that the Government will recognise the mandate that we have from the people of Scotland, and will act accordingly. There can be no more one-size-fits-all policies covering everything and everyone from Truro to Thurso; and there can be no return to “business as usual” for Scotland.”