Scotland’s newest MP has encouraged colleagues not to “shy away” from complexity.

In his maiden speech in the Commons, Michael Shanks said nuance in political discourse was “an essential part of coming up with the common sense solutions that actually work for people.”

The Labour politician was the winner of last month’s Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election, securing a majority of 9,446.

It was a resounding victory for the former teacher, representing a 20.4 point swing away from the SNP.

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The ballot in South Lanarkshire was triggered after constituents ousted Margaret Ferrier in a recall petition.

That followed the former SNP politician's suspension from the Commons for 30 days for multiple pandemic rule breaches and subsequent criminal conviction.

She was ordered to carry out 270 hours of community service after pleading guilty to wilfully exposing people “to the risk of infection, illness and death”.

As is tradition in an MP’s first speech, Mr Shanks paid tribute to his predecessor. He said during the by-election campaign he “met countless people across the constituency who praised Margaret Ferrier's attention on matters of casework and local issues.”

“And credit is due to her for that,” he added.

Mr Shanks said his constituency was a “community full of hard working, decent people who aren't ever shy in telling you what they think.”

“They want the absolute best for their community and their family. They're also rightly angry, politically scunnered at being let down time and time again by governments distracted and divided at the very moment they need them most.”

He told MPs: “Devolution promised us the chance to make decisions for Scotland, in Scotland. But so often of late, it has become a place not of the high ideals of public policy, but of manufactured grievance and division.

“Donald Dewar spoke of the Scottish Parliament as a means to revitalise our place in this United Kingdom. It feels to more Scots today that neither SNP nor Conservative is revitalising anything and our slow, much too slow march towards social justice continues to elude far too many.”

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Mr Shanks was speaking ahead of the vote on SNP’s amendment calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. Earlier in the day he and the party’s other Scottish MP said they would not be backing the call, instead supporting Labour’s push for humanitarian pauses.

The new MP said: “I have no doubt over the coming weeks and months I wrestle with complicated issues and seek to further my understanding of topics that I'll openly admit I need to know a lot more about. None of us has all the answers although I suspect that may come as a surprise to some Honourable members.

“But complexity shouldn't be something we shy away from. Nuance which seems so lacking in our political discourse today, no doubt in part because of the role of social media, is an essential part of coming up with the common sense solutions that actually work for people.“