YOUNG VOICES

Meet The SNP's Mhairi Black, The 20-Year-Old Student Who Just Unseated Labour's Douglas Alexander

08/05/2015 03:45 BST | Updated 08/05/2015 10:59 BST

This time last year, few would have heard of Mhairi Black. On Thursday, the 20-year-old student made history - and headlines - by becoming Britain's youngest MP since 1667, and unseating Douglas Alexander in the process.

The SNP candidate won her seat in Paisley and Renfrewshire South with 23,548 votes to the former Labour MP's 17,864.

Black, who is currently studying politics at the University of Glasgow, told the Daily Express in a previous interview: "[People] see I am passionate about what I’m talking about.

"It's the ideas they are responding to and the fact they are being engaged with.

"Many of them have never spoken to any kind of candidate and the other parties had never tried to engage with me before I started this.

"In fact, I’ve seen more of Douglas Alexander in the last month than I did in the last 10 years. He’s only seemed to have discovered his passion when he could lose his seat."

Writing on her SNP page, Black vowed: "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.

"We need real action to support those in need. We need real powers in Scotland to grow our economy and we need a real voice who will put this constituency first and not their political career."

mhairi black

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with Mhairi Black (second right) on the campaign trail in Paisley, Scotland, ahead of the election

The self-confessed political "geek" was the first girl in her primary school to be selected for the football team, and grew up in a working class family in Paisley's east end. Her foray into politics was inspired by the referendum campaign, which prompted her to leave her job in a local chip shop and dedicate her time to serving the community.

Black has already said if elected she will still return to university to take her final exam on Scottish politics, before starting her first graduate job - as an MP.

The student not only ousted the Labour foreign shadow secretary, but also claimed the title of "Baby of the House" from Pamela Nash, who was bestowed the title in 2010 at the age of 25. However Black didn't quite bag the youngest ever MP title - that's still held by Christopher Monck, who was 13 years and 148 days old when he was returned as Knight of the Shire for Devon in 1667.

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