SNP MP Stuart McDonald has said he feels like he has won the lottery after coming first in a ballot for backbenchers to propose their own laws and “make a difference”.
The Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East MP won the private members’ Bill ballot on Thursday morning, thereby securing first pick when it comes to securing parliamentary time on a sitting Friday to propose a Bill he wishes to become law.
The SNP home affairs spokesman told the PA news agency he has “hundreds of ideas”, ranging from issues around refugees and migrants to measures aimed at tackling the cost-of-living crisis and the climate crisis.
He also revealed his email box has already “exploded” with emails from lobby groups, interest groups, charities and campaigners who want him to take up their cause.
Second in he ballot was Labour’s Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central), followed by Conservative Greg Smith (Buckingham), Labour’s Sir Mark Hendrick (Preston), Conservative former cabinet minister Dr Liam Fox, Conservative Bob Blackman (Harrow East) and Conservative former cabinet minister Greg Clark.
Twenty numbered ballot balls, corresponding to 20 MPs, were drawn by Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing but normally only the first seven ballot Bills will get a day’s debate and therefore have more chance of becoming law.
A total of 460 members entered this year’s ballot.
The MP for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East said: “Obviously, I am delighted, surprised. It feels like I have won a lottery. But also I am in a position whereby I have got ideas like any MP has at this stage, hundreds of ideas, but taking the time just to think through what the best one to pick is.”
When asked what he might focus on, Mr McDonald said: “I have obviously done a lot of work in recent years on issues around refugees and migrants, so I could do a million things on that.”
On the other hand, he said, major problems now include “tackling the cost-of-living crisis, the climate crisis” and there is lots that needs to be done in regards to “workers’ rights and animals’ rights”.
He added: “There are just so many things.”
Mr McDonald confirmed his email box has already “exploded”, adding: “Indeed, I have never felt so popular. It is helpful. I will look through all of the things I have been sent and give them a fair hearing.
“Another thing you have to sort of make sure and fully understand as well, what are the constraints about what I can realistically achieve. Obviously, I need to find something that may attract cross-party support.”
After announcing the successful MPs on Thursday morning, Dame Eleanor stressed the importance of private members’ Bills.
She said: “I am quite sure that in the offices of all 20 members whose names have been drawn out, there will now be great excitement.
“We all look forward to seeing the range of Bills that will now come forward because you must never forget that it’s not only the Government who can instigate changes in legislation. Every member of Parliament has an opportunity through this process and others to make a difference.
“That’s what we have all come here for and I wish the very best of good fortune to all 20 members whose names we have called out this morning.”
The 20 MPs, in order of priority, are:
1. SNP Stuart C McDonald (Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
2. Labour’s Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central)
3. Conservative Greg Smith (Buckingham)
4. Labour’s Sir Mark Hendrick (Preston)
5. Conservative Dr Liam Fox (North Somerset)
6. Conservative Bob Blackman (Harrow East)
7. Conservative Greg Clark (Tunbridge Wells)
8. Conservative Dean Russell (Watford)
9. Labour’s Yasmin Qureshi (Bolton South East)
10. Liberal Democrat Wendy Chamberlain (North East Fife)
11. Conservative Mark Jenkinson (Workington)
12. Labour’s Alex Cunningham (Stockton North)
13. Conservative Henry Smith (Crawley)
14. Conservative Claire Coutinho (East Surrey)
15. Liberal Democrat Wera Hobhouse (Bath)
16. Labour’s Ian Mearns (Gateshead)
17. Labour’s Christina Rees (Neath)
18. Conservative Matt Hancock (West Suffolk)
19. Conservative Sally-Ann Hart (Hastings and Rye)
20. Conservative Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock)