General Election 2015 results: Meet Mhairi Black, Westminster's youngest MP who just beat Douglas Alexander in Paisley and South Renfrewshire

Joe Hall
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Mhairi Black is in her final year at university. (Source: Getty)

When parliament reconvenes next month it will welcome its youngest MP since the 1600s; 20-year-old Mhairi Black who spectacularly unseated shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander in the Paisley and South Renfrewshire constituency.

She is officially the youngest lawmaker in 348 years.

Despite the fact that Black is yet to graduate from her politics degree at Glasgow University, the young SNP candidate toppled Alexander who had held the seat since 1997 and enjoyed a massive majority of 16,000 a year ago.

Black picked up 23,548 votes to Alexander's 17,864, a massive 27 per cent swing that consigned Labour to yet another devastating loss in Scotland where they have just one MP remaining. Paisley and South Renfrewshire has been a Labour stronghold for 70 years.

So, who is the 20-year-old who managed to pull off such a surprising victory?

Local girl

Black is native to Paisley, the small working class town located just outside Glasgow. A big Partick Thistle fan, she has been breaking new ground from an early age, becoming the first girl in her primary school to play for its football team. Her father, who helped guide her campaign, was a long-term Labour supporter but her family (like many, many others in Scotland) have switched allegiances to the SNP after growing disillusioned with the party.

In an interview with the Guardian she explained: "My family was all proper Clydeside-shipyards Labour. But my grandfather would turn in his grave if he heard how Labour were behaving now: the bitterness in them. The intellect of the party has fallen, the principles of the party has fallen."

Currently studying politics at Glasgow University, Black's first priority after catching up on some much-needed sleep will be to complete her dissertation due at the end of the month.


On her website Black states:

I will campaign against austerity cuts and the draconian benefits sanctions which are leaving individuals, families and communities in despair and relying on foodbanks to survive. I also believe it is immoral to spend over £100 billion on a new generation of nuclear weapons whilst another generation of children in this constituency have to endure poverty.

Black's victory speech:

The people of Scotland are speaking and it's time for their voice to be heard at Westminster. I make this promise...that is exactly what I plan to do.

I think it's truly because people have awakened to the fact this Westminster establishment has not been serving them and the Labour party in Scotland has not been serving them, and they must've felt that Douglas Alexander wasn't serving them.

What people are looking for is that change, an end to austerity and the SNP were the only ones offering that. People are not interested in aesthetic things like age and gender, they're interested in the quality of the argument and I think the SNP is proving tonight that we provided those high-quality arguments.

It highlighted that they couldn't challenge us on policy and that's what people were responding to, people are looking for politics to move forward and to be about people rather than politicians' sparring matches."The Times They Are A Changin'"

The classic folk song by Bob Dylan is Black's favourite song. And considering her presence in parliament will break records not seen since the advent of the enlightenment, it's not a bad theme tune either...


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