Motherwell and Wishaw MP Marion Fellows retired from teaching four years ago, but as she begins her new job at Westminster hopes her life experience proves beneficial.
In her maiden speech to the House of Commons Mrs Fellows argued that if she could motivate “lazy” 16-year-olds she could cope with anything politics throws at her.
She said: “I know that there are some honourable members in this House who have spent their whole adult life in preparation for being here.
“I haven’t. I have lived a full and rather enjoyable life , I am, or have been, a wife, a mother, a granny, a teacher, a local councillor, a trade union official, an auditor, a bookkeeper, a housewife, a student, a chairman of the parent-teacher association and a secretary of my local community council.
“Each of these jobs and responsibilities has taught me a little bit about myself and a wee bit about the world around us. I know how to knit a jumper, although it has been suggested that as a deputy whip I should, perhaps, consider knitting some other suitable accessories for the job. I can persuade a lazy 16-year-old to turn up to class on time, I can negotiate a fair pay deal for my colleagues and I know how to balance a set of books.
“I know some of my colleagues’ youthfulness has attracted a bit of attention. I hope to complement their great strengths by bringing my experience and skills to bear on our work.
“Too often I hear those of us with more life experience are overlooked. I promise to make my experience count, and stand up for the grannies, grandads, retired and never-going-to-retire, and the worldly wise across the country. We have a lot to offer our communities and this place.
“Four years after I retired for the first time, the people of my own community gave me an opportunity to use my skills and experience as their first female non-Labour MP. That’s what I fully intend to do.”
Mrs Fellows holds a surgery in Bellshill Cultural Centre on Saturday from 10-11am.