A 20-year-old Scottish university student was elected Britain’s youngest lawmaker in almost 350 years Thursday, defeating one of the opposition Labour Party’s most senior politicians in the process.
Mhairi Black of the separatist Scottish National Party (SNP) won the seat of Paisley and Renfrewshire South in western Scotland by a wide margin. She is part of an SNP tide that was projected by exit polls to win all but one of Scotland’s 59 seats in Britain’s House of Commons. By contrast, the party held just six seats entering Thursday’s vote.
“The people of Scotland are speaking and it’s time for their voice to be heard at Westminster,” said Black, who reaped the benefit of a swing of over 22,000 votes — almost 27 percent of the electorate — from Labour to the SNP.
Among the slate of candidates Black defeated was Douglas Alexander, Labour’s foreign policy spokesman who was also responsible for the party’s Scottish campaign.
Black is now the country’s youngest lawmaker since Christopher Monck, who entered Parliament in 1667 at age 13.
The Daily Telegraph reported that Black still has to take her final exams before graduating from Glasgow University with a degree in, perhaps inevitably, politics.
Black was the subject of controversy earlier in the campaign for tweeting about alcohol-fueled nights out in Glasgow, as well as writing derogatory Twitter posts about Celtic, one of the most popular soccer teams in Scotland.