20-year-old student becomes youngest member of British Parliament in 350 years

GLASGOW, Scotland (Reuters) – A 20-year-old university student standing for the Scottish National Party defeated a Labour Party grandee in Britain’s national election to become the youngest member of the British parliament in 350 years.

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Mhairi Black won 23,548 votes against 17,804 for Douglas Alexander in the Paisley and Renfrewshire South constituency – a hugely embarrassing result for a man who is Labour’s shadow foreign minister and electoral campaign chief.

It symbolised a wretched night for Labour as the SNP routed it across Scotland in what could be one of the worst results for Labour north of the border a century.

Black is in her final year studying Politics and Public Policy at the University of Glasgow. Born and bred in Paisley, south of Glasgow, she grew up in a Labour-voting house.

Her first political stirrings included marching against the Iraq war. Her official biography says that traveling around Scotland as a political activist, she was struck by its deprived areas and was inspired to work for social justice.

“It was here that I witnessed first hand the level of poverty and injustice prevalent in our society,” she says.

She has, however, been hauled up for some youthful indiscretions.

A fan of Partick Thistle soccer club, she once used expletives to describe Celtic, Scotland’s most famed side.

She was also caught on camera after the referendum loss as saying she would like “put the nut in” on a Labour councillor – Glasgow slang for head-butting.

Black is the youngest lawmaker elected to the House of Commons since 1667, when 13-year-old Christopher Monck took his seat, the BBC reported.

(Reporting by Angus MacSwan; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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