DOUGLAS Chapman has always had an interest in politics but did not become actively involved until he became a volunteer for a local election in Rosyth in the mid 1990s.

“I think I was in the door of the local branch for five minutes before I became organiser for an upcoming election, so in a short space of time I became a party volunteer,” he recalled.

“Then the Scottish Parliament came along and I worked for Bruce Crawford for a number of years. In 2007 I was campaign manager for the SNP HQ in Edinburgh, then I was a Rosyth councillor and Cosla spokesman, so that was all part of a gentle learning curve.

“In the past eight or nine weeks there’s been a very sharp learning curve in terms of what I’ve had to deal with at Westminster – along with 55 others.”

Winning the Dunfermline and West Fife seat from Labour’s Thomas Docherty was, he said, “a fantastic night for the SNP”.

“It was one of those constituencies that wasn’t being punted as winnable so to win by 10,500 votes was just outstanding,” he said. “People thought Labour weren’t worth voting for, the LibDems had shot themselves in the foot and very few vote Tory anyway – it was all there for us to take.”

So after a working life spent in banking, business development and now politics, Chapman, 60, is delighted to be in the Commons with such a formidable team.

“It’s been a very exciting few months and I’m delighted we’re here in such big numbers,” he said.

“I felt a bit overawed going into the Commons as an MP for the first time because it’s so steeped in history and tradition, and after about 10 minutes you think it’s not about what’s happened in the past; it’s about how you want to create a better future for Scotland. It’s about how we can use Westminster to prosecute our own case for more powers for Scotland – maybe leading to independence in the future.

“Scotland is a valuable part of the UK and we have to convince Westminster of that,” he added. “If they don’t take Scotland much more seriously than they have in the past and appreciate that we are a valuable asset, people will at a later date choose to go down a different route.”

The camaraderie among the 56 is something that has also impressed Chapman.

“I’ve been amazed at the way people have responded – all the way from elder statesmen like Angus Robertson to people like me and other first-time MPs.

“I think that’s one of the great strengths we have.”

Away from the Palace of Westminster, Chapman is very much a family man. His wife Eileen is a primary school head and the couple have two sons who are still at school.

“My sporting prowess is well in the past,” said Chapman, adding: “But the family are all season ticket holders at Easter Road.”

“I like spending time with my family because that time is even more valuable now than it has been in the past.

“This is a five-year contract and I couldn’t do it at the expense of my family.”