Former Ellon Times reporter makes it to Westminster

It may be a far cry from the former Ellon Times office in the town’s Bridge Street, to the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London but for Richard Thomson, a former reporter at the Ellon paper, it was a dream come true, brought about by hard work, allied to sheer determination to succeed.

Monday, 13th January 2020, 4:20 pm
Former Ellon Times reporter and now the new Gordon SNP MP Richard Thomson celebrates his election win

For the Edinburgh-born Richard and for the most part brought up in Auld Reekie, his first week as an SNP MP was by his own admission a whirl as he came to terms with his new environment in London so soon after his narrow victory in the Gordon constituency.

His triumph at the expense of sitting member Scottish Conservative Colin Clark was tempered by the gracious words of the losing candidate who said after the count: “I just know Richard will make a good MP.” - a great encouragement for any newcomer to the mother of parliaments.

But despite being born in Scotland’s capital, Richard roots are very much in the north east, having been born of a lady from Strichen who married his Edinburgh-based father.

Away from the world of politics, Richard has adopted his grandfather’s love of music, including being a fiddler of some note himself.

He explained: “My grandfather was Gordon Easton - champion bothy ballad singer who regularly competed at festivals, and recorded several CDs.

“It was from him that I picked my desire to play the fiddle.

“I then went on to join the Lothian Schools Strathspey and Reel Society, touring Alberta in 1992 and leading a tour of Argentina in 1994.

“Even at Stirling University where I studied History and Politics I was heavily into the world of music, and twice played at T in the Park with the Canongate Cadjers and had eight years with Colin Stuart in his ‘’Taste of Scotland’’ shows at Prestonfield House, Edinburgh.

Richard added:“It was all great fun, but all the while I was getting well versed in the world of Scottish politics.”

Richard left his job at Scottish Widows in 2004 to become the Scottish National Party’s Head of Campaigns, and the rest as they say is history, leading to various posts within the party, including standing in the General Election in the Gordon seat where he came second to Sir Malcolm Bruce in 2008.

Richard moved to Ellon in the same year when he joined the editorial staff of the Ellon Times.

2012 was significant year for him in that he became an elected member of Aberdeenshire Council, but of greater pride was in becoming a father for the first time.

In 2015 he became SNP Group Leader and Co-Leader of Aberdeenshire Council until the 2017 elections.

Since then Richard has led the group, turning a mainly new group into strong local represenatives, while serving on the Marine Resources Group of the North Sea Commission.

In his spare time Richard also managed to join the Oldmeldrum Rotary where he was club president.

But despite being brought up in Edinburgh, Richard is an Aberdeen Football Club supporter.

He explained: “It was tough being the only Dons fan at Tynecastle High School which is right next to the Hearts ground, but perhaps the experience will help me cope in the hurly burly of Westminster.

“It had better if I am to faithfully represent the people of Gordon.”

The impression is that Richard Thomson is more than up to the task.