An ex-Labour MP has spoken about how the Coronavirus crisis has left him unemployed for the first time since he had a paper round at 14.

Paul Sweeney, who was the Labour MP for Glasgow North East until last year, has now applied for Universal credit. 

Paul, 32, was earning around £80,000 a year at Westminster, now expects to receive around £340 of Universal Credit.

Paul told The Glasgow Times: "I hope this example gives confidence to people to make sure they are exploring all options to get the support they are entitled to, and that it is there for anyone.

"It might not solve everyone's money worries but it will hopefully help to some extent."

In an interview with the Daily Record, Paul said: “It’s a bit of a surreal turnaround. Six months ago I was helping folk out with Universal Credit issues. It’s funny how the tables can turn very quickly.”

Paul was the MP for Glasgow North East for two years and was part of Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow Scotland team. 

He lost to the SNP’s Anne McLaughlin. 

Since the coronavirus crisis, lockdown has resulted in a lack of employment opportunities and Paul is now one of thousands Scots who have applied for Universal Credit.

Read more: Jeanette McKenna: Fun loving care worker who went viral in Tiktok video found dead at home

Paul said: “I still had a mortgage to pay and was burning through the savings I had.

“There was nothing else for it. Universal Credit was there.

“It’s the same for any working class, or lower middle class person -  you are going to rely on your salary for living on. It’s not like you’ve got investments or buy-to-let property to fall back on.

“Very quickly you realise it’s a bit of a game of snakes and ladders.”

A large part of Paul's constituency caseload had been helping people who were struggling with the “Kafka-esque nightmare” of the social security system.

He said of his own experience: “For people who are fit to work and are generally quite healthy, of working age and IT literate, it’s a pretty straightforward system to use, but that does not speak for everybody.”

Paul has never been unemployed before. He had a paper round at 14, worked in a pizza restaurant and a supermarket, and had jobs after he graduated.

He believes the public are sympathetic to people who lose their jobs, but some are less so for politicians.

Read more: Dalziel Rugby club walking 'to Poland' for Beatson Charity

He said: “I had the most spectacular sacking in recent Glasgow history. I was the only scalp in Glasgow that night.

“It was a fairly unpleasant experience. It’s almost like a public execution. It’s got a grim voyeurism to it. It’s one of the few examples in society where people losing their jobs is treated like a blood sport.”

Paul says despite it all, the political life is still for him. 

He said: “I think I made a decent impact in two years as an MP. I think I found my vocation in life.

“I would certainly consider Holyrood next year. It's something I am weighing up.”