A POLITICIAN who’s always on the fiddle – not my words but those of Peter Grant, the MP for Glenrothes referring to his musical ability.

He had piano lessons as a youngster and became a fiddler in his later years.

“I played piano first and went through all the exams, so as far as technical ability goes I’m probably better on the piano,” he said, adding: “But the fiddle’s easier to carry around.”

Grant, 54, was born in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, a long-time Labour stronghold, into a staunch Labour family.

“My dad was an active member of the Labour Party and I can still hear his words ringing in my ears: ‘The Tories are only for rich people, the Liberals are watered down Tories and the SNP are tartan Tories, that’s why you vote Labour’.

“I suspect he may have changed his allegiance now, but I’ve never asked him.”

It was in the 1980s, while working as a civil servant that Grant began to think about his own political allegiance.

He said: “I worked with the HSE for a time and spent some time in England. It was about then I thought these are two completely different countries, different societies. We’re under one government but it’s not just diverse regions of the same country. It is something completely different. That was in the days of the Iron Lady, which I think persuaded many people about the benefits of having a government of our own.”

Grant settled in Glenrothes, and in 1987 he left his civil service job. One of the first things he did after leaving was to set about hunting for Scottish National Party contact.

“It was difficult to track anybody down before the days of the internet. Eventually a friend put me in touch with an SNP contact called Patricia Marwick, and I duly phoned her.

“That was the first and last time I ever called her Patricia to her face! We used to have cardboard membership cards, and the first SNP card I ever had was signed by Tricia Marwick, Holyrood’s Presiding Officer.”

Grant became a Fife councillor in 1992 and went on to become the authority’s leader for five years and SNP group leader. He won Glenrothes with a majority of 13,897, replacing Labour’s Lindsay Roy, who had been MP since 2008 and stood down because of illness.

He said May’s General Election was an amazing, if humbling experience.

“We’d seen from last summer that something had shifted during the referendum and it wasn’t going to shift back as easily as some folk had predicted.

“I remember telling branch meetings that we had to treat Glenrothes as a marginal even though we were fighting a 16,000-plus majority. The way the campaign team pulled itself together was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. We really did have people from all walks of life, all wanting to be heard.

“There were times during the campaign I was moved to tears when I heard the circumstances that people were having to put up with, and yet they were still willing to give up their time to get me elected because they trusted me to do something.”