Northern Ireland

First day nerves for new NI MPs

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Media captionBBC News NI Political Correspondent Stephen Walker spoke to the politicians on their first day in parliament

This week there are a lot of people walking around Westminster looking a bit lost and asking lots of questions.

Since Monday, the new MPs elected after last week's general election have been arriving in London to find out how parliament works and how they are going to do their new job.

For many it means their working and family lives will change forever.

The class of 2015 includes new faces in all the major parties.

Northern Ireland has four new MPs: Ulster Unionists Danny Kinahan and Tom Elliott, the DUP's Gavin Robinson and Sinn Féin's Mickey Brady.

Image caption Tom Elliott had a long journey to Westminster from County Fermanagh

Sinn Féin does not take its seats so only the unionists travelled over to be briefed on how they are going to represent their constituents in Westminster.

It took Tom Elliott four and a half hours to travel to London from County Fermanagh, where he has the honour of representing the UK's most westerly constituency.

The politician from Ballinamallard made a car journey, a flight from Belfast to London and he changed trains before he arrived in central London.

He told the BBC he was delighted to have captured the seat from Sinn Féin's Michelle Gildernew .

Speaking in the London sunshine in the shadow of parliament, he said he felt unusual about being in London but said it would not take long to come to terms with his new life.

"It is certainly a long way from Fermanagh and South Tyrone and from the cattle farm that I am on," he said.

Image caption Danny Kinahan likened the experience to his first day at school

Party colleague Danny Kinahan, who unseated the DUP's Willie McCrea in the South Antrim constituency, said being at Westminster was like "going back to school for your first day".

He has spent the day in a series of meetings designed to help new members and he had the opportunity to see the Commons chamber at first hand.

The former soldier said he got such a thrill from sitting on the green benches and said he was determined to work hard in the next five years to retain his seat in 2020.

All new MPs have been given briefings by parliamentary staff about the language used in the Commons chamber, dress code and how to ask questions to ministers, and they have been given a tour of the Westminster estate.

As part of the induction programme, new MPs are assigned a member of staff who acts as a "buddy" to new members and helps them around the parliamentary estate.

Image caption Gavin Robinson admitted to feeling nervous when he first arrived at the Houses of Parliament

The DUP's Gavin Robinson, who took the East Belfast seat off the Alliance Party's Naomi Long, is another new MP finding his way around Westminster's many rooms and corridors.

One of parliament's youngest members, the 30-year-old said that when he arrived at the entrance he was "nervous" and wondered if his Commons pass would work and they would "let me in".

The former Belfast city councillor said it was "special" to be in Westminster, and he said he had been "entrusted by about 20,000 people".

He said he was looking forward to the next few months and, chatting to the BBC on the Commons terrace overlooking the river Thames, he said: "The onus is on me and I need to deliver in the next five years."

MPs will return to the Commons chamber next week to elect a speaker for the new parliament, and on 27 May Prime Minister David Cameron's plans for the next few years will be outlined in the Queen's Speech.

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