NEW SNP MP Neil Gray, who overturned a majority of more than 12,000 in a former Labour stronghold, insisted that witnessing his constituents in tears in utter desperation with no food or a penny in their pockets made him even more determined to battle against crippling Tory welfare cuts.

The 29-year-old MP for Airdrie and Shotts said he and his SNP colleagues at Westminster will fight “tooth and nail” against the cuts and plans to scrap the Human Rights Act.

As he headed for the Commons for a series of inductions yesterday, Gray recalled speaking to local people before he was elected.

“I had people sitting across the table from me in surgeries in tears in utter desperation with not an ounce of food on the table, not a penny in their wallet because of idealogical political decisions taken by the Tories that are absolutely hammering ordinary people’s lives, people who have fallen on hard times and need the support of the state,” he said.

“These are honest people who just need a bit of a helping hand. These cuts don’t need to be made, that was made clear during the election, the Tories just want to make them.

“They are absolutely ruthless. It is disgusting especially as I’m walking up through the streets of London and I see the money that’s flowing through this place; there is clearly a need to redistribute some of the wealth in certain parts of the country.

“I will fight it 100 per cent and so will my colleagues.

“The other thing I take issue with is the potential scrapping of the Human Rights Act. That would be an absolute travesty and I’m delighted that Alex Neil and Nicola Sturgeon have announced they will not allow that to happen, so we need to fight tooth and nail against this as well.”

Born and brought up in the Orkney Isles, Gray moved to the central belt when attending Stirling University from 2004, where he gained a first class degree in politics and journalism.

He worked as journalist for the BBC and local newspaper titles before moving to the SNP’s press and research office in Holyrood.

Father of nine-month-old Isla and husband of Karlie, 28, Gray was also employed by Neil in his constituency office in August 2008, becoming his office manager in 2011.

He was a keen athlete, representing Scotland at the 400m, until a serious knee injury ended his career but he hasn’t given up completely as he still runs long distance events including the most recent ultra marathon in 2013.

Since he defeated Labour opponent Pamela Nash last week, Gray said it has been “busy, hectic, overwhelming, unbelievable and fantastic”.

Gray put his election win down to the hard work of his campaign team and said his inspiration came from MSP Neil, the Social Justice Secretary and former Health Minister.

He said: “If I can be half the man that Alex is then I’ll be doing well in life. If I can be half the politician that he is then I will be representing the community well.”