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Nicola Sturgeon tips East Dunbartonshire’s Amy Callaghan to be one of the stars of the Commons

© Andrew CawleyNewly elected MP Amy Callaghan
Newly elected MP Amy Callaghan

There were no champagne corks popping after Amy Callaghan unseated Jo Swinson in one of the election’s biggest upsets.

Instead, the 27-year-old rising star of the SNP celebrated with a few gins and a curry.

She had just created a political earthquake after defeating the Liberal Democrat leader in East Dunbartonshire.

And the jubilant, fist-pumping celebrations of Amy’s mentor Nicola Sturgeon when she heard the news became one of the most memorable moments of election night.

Critics said celebrating a rival’s defeat with such gusto was regrettable but Ms Sturgeon had no regrets in Dundee yesterday.

She said: “If I was to hear that result all over again for the first time I’d react in exactly the same way. I wasn’t celebrating Jo Swinson’s defeat, I was celebrating the victory of a 27-year-old woman who fought a brilliant campaign against all the odds. A young woman who has overcome a lot of personal adversity in her own life to get to this point and who deserved to win that election.

“She was one of the stars of the campaign and I predict she will be one of the stars of the next House of Commons.”

Nicola Sturgeon hears of Amy’s win

Amy is from a working-class family in Clydebank. Her father was a welder on the Clyde before starting his own engineering business. Her mother was a secretary and now works for the family business.

She and her two brothers went to St Peter the Apostle High School. One brother is now a junior doctor.

Amy and her family know full well the value of the NHS. The MP was diagnosed with skin cancer aged 19. She had surgery to remove part of her cheekbone and nerves in her face.

She said: “I’m well now but when I was a teenager I had melanoma and I relapsed when I was 21. It showed me how precious our NHS is and ignited a fire in me to make sure it’s always there for people.” Amy worked with cancer charities to produce a paper for the British Medical Journal.

She said: “I’ve been making sure everyone is aware of the signs of cancer. It’s something I’m keen to champion now I’m an MP. I’ve asked the Teenage Cancer Trust what I can do to help.”

As The Post chatted to Amy, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stopped and gave the young MP a warm hug, telling her she can call any time for a chat.

Amy said having a direct line of communication with the SNP leader is very exciting. She explained: “The First Minister has been incredibly supportive as have people throughout the party.”

The rising star wouldn’t be drawn on whether she sees herself as a future party leader. However she does hope to emulate her mentor by inspiring more women to get involved in politics.

And Amy said she is ready for the challenge of being an MP.

“I’m used to helping people deal with the impact of Tory and Lib Dem austerity.

“I’ve been on the children’s panel for three years, seeing the real impact poverty has had on children and families across Scotland.”