The latest cohort of Scottish MPs are a distinctly professional-looking bunch.


The 59 members - 49 of them elected to the Commons for the first time - are from a range of social backgrounds.

But an analysis of their former occupations by The Herald shows almost all have done firmly middle-class or white-collar jobs.

The most common work? In business or finance.

We have listed six MPs as having mostly earned their crusts in business, either as entrepreneurs or as employees as major corporations.

Another six have been graded as having worked in finance or accountancy, either in the private sector or the public.

The new MP for East Renfrewshire, Kirsten Oswald, is an HR professional. Lawyer and sometimes actress Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh also lists business as part of her background. So does Richard Arkless, the SNP man in Dumfries an Galloway.

That means the new batch of MPs boast at least a total of 15 individuals with experience of enterprise or the finance or corporate worlds.

Seven of the new intake have worked in the legal world, such as Joanna Cherry QC, who has succeeded another top lawyer, former Chancellor Alistair Darling, as MP for Edinburgh South West. But that number also includes Ms Ahmed-Sheikh and Mr Arkless.

Eight come from the worlds of media, journalism and PR, including the newly-elected MP for East Dunbartonshire John Nicolson, a former BBC and ITV reporter.

But if politics used to be a job for the professions, now it is a profession in itself. It's hard to say exactly what a political professional is, but we have listed nine of the MPs as such. This is because their main job before being elected to the House of Commons was in politics, usually as councillors.

The proportion of one in six with a political background is roughly in line with the Scottish Parliament, although members of both Holyrood and Westminster will no doubt quibble about how much life experience outside politics they have.

This doesn't mean that they haven't done other jobs. Most have - Stewart McDonald, the new Glasgow South MP, has been a holiday rep, for example.

Typical examples of the trend towards political professionals include Callum McCaig, MP for Aberdeen South, who was Aberdeen City council leader aged just 26. Other jobs included working in MSP Maureen Watt's parliamentary office.

His colleague, the MP for West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine Stuart Donaldson, also worked for his local MSP before entering parliament.

But definitions of political professional vary. Three of the new MPs, for example, have all worked for third-sector organisations, often in policy development. We have listed them separately but their work could be seen as political.

Such political professionals also featured in the old contingent of MPs replaced in May.

But, at least on the Labour benches, the last parliament could claim MPs who had got their hands dirty.

They included MPs Jim Sheridan, a former ship builder; Frank Roy a former steelworker; coal miner David Hamilton; and Jimmy Hood, a former mining engineer.

There is one stand-out MP who isn't from the white-collar professions: Denny barber John McNally, who represents Falkirk.

And one of the MPs, student Mhairi Black, at 20 is too young to get herself a trade.