A Labour MP has told how he was subjected to slurs over his weight and Scottish accent during Commons debates.
Hugh Gaffney, who was elected in June last year, revealed he has been “heckled something awful” by Tory MPs – but said nothing would deter him from standing up for “workers and equality”.
The Scot, who has been involved with the trade union movement for more than a decade, shrugged off the insults, saying he had a “harder time” from former postal service colleagues.
The dad-of-three told the Press Association: “There’s heckling, aye, it is what kind of heckling you get.
“When people start attacking your body size then you’re winning the argument because they’re not going for the policy.
“In the chamber one of the MPs made a remark about my language, basically he was saying we can’t understand you, so he’s having a wee pop at the Scottish accent.
“Somebody else pulled him up for it and in fairness to the man he came up and apologised, he was heckling me something awful.”
Despite the heckling Mr Gaffney, who represents the Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill constituency, expressed a fondness for Parliament – a place he has dubbed “Butlins”.
He said: “I call it a theatre because they’re all screaming and shouting. You want to see a real-life pantomime? Come to Parliament.
“But I was comfortable with the place straight away, I call this Butlins.
“It does take you away from the real world though, that’s why I say to my friends and family you need to stay in touch with me, I need to know what is going on in the real world.”
Mr Gaffney, who wore his former postal uniform to Parliament after being elected, often wears his Communication Workers Union tie as a reminder of his allegiance.
He said: “I spent my life in the post office, I would chat on doorsteps and say: ‘Send a working man to Parliament’.
“So I came down here with my uniform on, that was one of my symbols to say the working man has arrived.”
He added: “The way to change politics is to get more real society in here, it’s purely business people in here.
“It’s like the posh boys and the working-class boys, I suppose if you live in here all the time I can understand why some of our Labour boys become posh boys.
“When the trade union started emerging they said you’ll wear the tie so much that you’ll forget who you’re representing.
“I feel workers don’t get enough, they deserve more, they deserve better.”