IT was not what the aspiring 36-year-old solicitor and would-be member of the new Scottish Parliament David Mundell had expected.

He had failed to take the Dumfries seat but was on the Conservative PR list for Holyrood.

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“I was number four on the Conservative list, which wasn’t really a position I thought I would be elected from,” admits the Scottish Secretary. “But the count was delayed and there was some issue in the borders, so at 4am there was no concept of when a regional result would be declared and I just decided to go home.

“I wasn’t very confident of my prospects and then when I woke up later in the morning - nobody had phoned me or anything like that – I was just flickering through Teletext to see what all the other results were. And there it was.

“I had been elected to the Scottish Parliament...There was no formality.”

He adds: “You would have thought somebody would have told you that you would have been elected one of the first members of the Scottish Parliament.”

Now a new boy, so to speak, Mr Mundell recalls how the accommodation for the new devolved institution was a little cramped.

“There had been an opinion poll immediately before the election and it showed the Conservatives would have nine MSPs, so the accommodation that we were allocated was based on nine MSPs. In fact, we had 18, so it was very cosy. The Conservatives shared a floor with Tommy Sheridan, which was interesting.”

The newly-elected MSP for the South of Scotland says he remembers the swearing in with the “magisterial” Winnie Ewing, who gave the opening a “real sense of moment”.

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“It was like going to a new school but instead of all the pupils being new, all the teachers, the janitors and everybody was new. In those early days there was no order to things. Gradually, the system clicked in and there was more process and procedure.”

Of course, Holyrood had to differentiate itself from Westminster. “We tried to do everything differently from the voting to the chamber; everything had to be different.”

Mr Mundell says the new parliament was not like the Commons. “There was a greater camaraderie and affinity across members, particularly when everyone had arrived, it was new and it was a very exciting time. The hope and anticipation was tangible.”

But that did not last long as political enmity started to kick in.

“The partisanship you see now, it’s very polarised now. At that period, we had a majority government, which no one ever anticipated and what you had as well, although you had a Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition, the Liberals had quite a lot of wild cards in that; people like Donald Gorrie and John Farquhar Munroe, Labour had people like John MacAllion. These people couldn’t be relied to vote along the party line. So, the Government lost in committees.”

Of course, Mr Mundell has begun something of a political dynasty with his son Oliver now also an MSP; the first father-and-son combination.

He recalls taking his son to the glittering opening ceremony. “Oliver was nine or 10 at the opening ceremony. I didn’t envisage that 20 years later he would be a member. He did meet Sean Connery at the opening; that was a bigger thing for him than some other aspects of the event.”

Asked why the Conservative Government was not formally marking the anniversary with a speech by Theresa May, the Scottish Secretary explains: “Her Majesty the Queen is marking the anniversary in the Scottish Parliament. I will be attending. That’s on June 29.

“There was a six-week period because the election was on the 6th, the 12th was the first sitting and July 1 was the official opening.”

Mr Mundell expresses pride when he notes how he notched up “another footnote” in the history of Scottish devolution. “I asked the first question, which was about rural schools. It shows, 20 years on, some issues are just the same.”