ONE of the most notable qualities which many of the new SNP MPs possess is something that is often referred to as a “hinterland”.

In an age when so many politicians walk out of student debates into jobs in politics and eventually seats in councils or parliaments, MPs such as Michelle Thomson are a breath of fresh air because they have enjoyed a broad-based life experience.

Thomson began her working life as a professional musician after graduation from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now the Royal Scottish Conservatoire) in 1985. She then moved into financial services before setting up her own property-related firm and then spent two years as managing director of pro-independence group Business for Scotland.

She took the plunge into serious political commitment after the disappointment of the referendum and joined the SNP, being nominated for the Edinburgh West seat where she lives with her husband and their two grown-up children.

Edinburgh West was seen as a LibDem stronghold as they had held the seat since 1997, but Thomson’s victory was not entirely unexpected in the General Election, not least because she fought on local issues.

“I was very clear that I wanted to stand in Edinburgh West,” said Thomson. “I live here, I know a lot of people here, and I felt that I could do well, but who would have expected an SNP victory in Edinburgh West? It really was quite remarkable.”

She has been made the party’s Spokesperson on Business, Innovation and Skills and that’s a cause dear to her heart.

Thomson explained: “Part of my job is about speaking to business people in their own language and that’s the language I have used in my career. I am proud to be part of the strong team we have on the economy along with Stewart Hosie, George Kerevan, Ian Blackford, Roger Mullin – it’s already been noted that we have complementary strengths.”

Many new MPs say adjusting to London life is difficult, but not Thomson:“I love London. I spent time there working with RBS and it’s a wonderful vibrant place. Now Westminster – that’s slightly different, and we have certainly had a good flavour of what you might call the vagaries of Westminster life.

“Taking part in the Scotland Bill debates, for instance, it was very disconcerting to see so few members of the Government there, and then they all pitched up at the end and voted against measures which at times had the support of 58 out of 59 Scottish MPs.

“They just don’t seem to grasp how anti-democratic it is to see something that is the will of 98 per cent of Scottish MPs voted down by English Tories, and then we have the hypocrisy of them insisting that we in the SNP will not have the right to vote on English laws when we don’t vote on them anyway.”

Thomson is clearly invigorated by her new job: “I always say you should have a passion for what you are doing and at this moment in time, standing up and being counted for the SNP is absolutely a passion for me.”