BEATING Graeme Morrice in the West Lothian seat of Livingston with a majority approaching 17,000 was especially sweet for Hannah Bardell. He was the man who beat her mother Lis when she stood in the seat five years ago, so her victory went some way to restoring some family pride.

“We knew it was looking positive on the night, but I would never have imagined the size of the majority,” she said. “It was testament to the Nationalist swing, but also to the work that was put in locally. A very pleasant surprise, as you can imagine.”

Bardell comes from a politically active mining family, and was the National Union of Students’ women’s officer when she studied at Stirling University. During this time she was aiming for a career in television, so she remained non partisan. And she said she only became active in politics when she went to work for the SNP, where – among other tasks – she developed SNP TV.

She then ran Alex Salmond’s constituency office between 2007 and 2010, when he was First Minister.

“That’s really what got me into politics,” said Bardell. “In 2010 I thought I wanted to do something different and maybe in the back of my mind I thought ‘perhaps I should stand as an MP’ but I knew I wanted to do other things before taking that step.”

She went on to work in communications and marketing.

Now, as an MP, she knows she has her work cut out.

She said: “First and foremost I’m a constituency member and that’s one of the key things I learned from working for Alex.

“You have to be in touch with your constituents day in, day out. You have to be in touch with all the stakeholder groups and be embedded in the community – and that’s a challenge for me in terms of making sure you’re visible.

“I came back from Westminster last Thursday and I was at a local community council meeting that evening just hearing about some of the challenges they have. I think it’s really important to continue  that.

“Economically, Livingston generally does better than many other parts of Scotland, although there are still pockets of difficulty and deprivation. By the end of my term I want to be able to say 

‘I have made a material difference to people’s living standards, to levels of poverty in this constituency and to job opportunities’.”

Bardell said she wanted to focus on her local economy and try to ensure that Livingston – “perfectly placed between Edinburgh and Glasgow” – remained an attractive option for inward investment.

She has still to make her maiden speech in the Commons, and has not yet decided on its subject.

“I want it to be constituency focused, but obviously you have to look at what speeches are coming up,” she said.

Bardell enjoys the freedom of “flying solo” in her personal life at the moment, but away from work she plays guitar, sings and enjoys creative writing, the arts and theatre.

She is also a lover of the Scottish outdoors, a fan of surfing, golfing and watching most sports, especially rugby and football, which she played until recently.