Twickenham’s new MP Tania Mathias, who ousted incumbent of 18 years Vince Cable by more than 2,000 votes, said she would continue the fight against Heathrow expansion and prioritise health and social care during her time in office.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

What a night: Tania took the coveted seat off Vince Cable

Speaking exclusively to the Richmond and Twickenham Times, Dr Mathias likened a hard-fought campaign, culminating in a tense election count, to the mix of emotions she felt when supporting her elder brother Charles through his first marathon.

She said she was getting advice from her fellow MPs, including Zac Goldsmith and MP for Putney Justine Greening, about how best to prioritise her mounting tasks as Member of Parliament. The new MPs have already been warned that a small majority would mean they were expected to spend a good deal of time in Westminster.

She said: "Unfortunately the joke people talk about is very true; when you are a candidate you spend all your time in the constituency trying to get into Westminster and when you are here you spend your time trying to get back."

The NHS doctor spent two years in Gaza during the early 1990s working for the UN and said although the workload associated with becoming an MP may seem overwhelming, the pressure was very different compared with helping people in an under-resourced clinic in a war-torn state.

She said: "It is the most vivid time of my life and I think for everybody who worked there during that time it stays with you forever.

"This is demanding in a different way and - touch wood - nobody is literally going to die if I didn’t get round to something today."

Dr Mathias was elected as councillor for Hampton Wick in 2010 and said she would be discussing her future in this role with her fellow councillors and leader Lord True at the end of this week.

She said: "There are councillors who become MPs and continue for some time in both roles so there is a precedent but I need to talk with them again to decide what is best.

"The good thing is there is a lot of overlap."

Dr Mathias, who was brought up in Barnes and attended Oxford University, went to St Paul’s Girls School in Hammersmith and said she was in awe of her "inspirational" headteacher Lady Heather Brigstocke, whom she hoped would have been proud of her achievements today.

Dr Mathias’ grandfather Freddie Mathias played rugby and cricket for Glamorgan and was awarded the Military Cross in 1918 after his exploits flying over enemy lines in Belgium and France. His helmet and propeller are on display at the RFU museum in Twickenham.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Proud: Dr Mathias's grandfather's display at Twickenham stadium

She is married but has kept her family out of the campaign and said although she did not want to deceive the public, she wanted to protect them from the inevitable exposure she signed herself up for.

Dr Mathias responded to recent comments from Dr Cable that he feared the Conservative government would press ahead with Heathrow expansion.

She said: "You know I respect Vince Cable but he was in the cabinet when they were discussing it. That was when they had the chance to stop it at that stage. We have got a lot of MPs who will be fighting it.

"I do feel we are going to be a very strong group and obviously we have got the MP for Uxbridge as well."

She added: "There might be a commission result that Twickenham residents don’t want but Heathrow isn’t going to expand overnight because of the commission report. Watch this space."

When asked about the future of the NHS under a Conservative government, which many feared would make damaging cuts to the institution, Dr Mathias said she was very excited about its future under the only party supporting a long-term view.

She said: "We want it to be the best service for everybody and that is a big target but I am optimistic about it and I am very emotionally involved in the subject."

Dr Mathias said she hoped to achieve everything in her manifesto and more, and that now she could take individual cases directly to some of the country’s most powerful figures. She said she was able to speak to Iain Duncan Smith earlier this week about a specific case relating to an individual from Twickenham.

When asked what she thought was the decisive factor in her win over Dr Cable, who enjoyed a 12,000 majority in the 2010 election, Dr Mathias answered: "I would love to know."

She added: "I know Twickenham people are so thoughtful and very intellectual and I really can imagine 25,000 different reasons why people voted the way they did.

"If I didn’t get everything I wanted to done in five years I would want to stand again and I would have to persuade them all again."

  • Dr Mathias’ first surgery will take place today at Whitton Community Centre between 4pm and 6pm.