A 20-year-old student has become the U.K.’s youngest member of parliament in centuries after the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) candidate Mhairi Black unseated a high-profile Labour Party member. Black, a third-year politics student at Glasgow University, was elected as MP of Paisley and Renfrewshire South, after she ousted Labour's Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander.
Black has now become Britain's youngest MP since 1667, when 13-year-old Christopher Monck, 2nd Duke of Albemarle, was elected as an MP in Devon.
â€” Mhairi Black (@mhairi1921) May 8, 2015
Black won the seat with a majority of almost 6,000 votes, a sensational upset in a constituency that had been represented by Labour for 70 years. "What people are hungry for is change, and they are looking for a party that can deliver that," Black told Sky News after her victory. "What has happened across Scotland is that people have become politically awakened and they will continue to vote for a party that listens to them."
Black’s election is part of a landslide victory that is set to rocket the SNP to power in Scotland with 56 out of 59 seats, upsetting the Labour’s hold, BBC reported.
Alexander admitted that it was a “difficult night” for his party. "Scotland has chosen to oppose this Conservative government but not place that trust in the Labour Party," he said, according to the London Evening Standard. "It will be our responsibility to re-win that trust in the months and years ahead."
In her victory speech, Black promised to campaign against the renewal of the Trident missile system, and to call for more powers for Scotland that were promised during the party's referendum campaign. She added that she would fight to end austerity cuts “both north and south of the border,” according to the Guardian.
Black had courted controversy during her campaign for her comments at a rally after the failure of the Scottish independence referendum. She had reportedly said she walked past "all these fat-cat Labour councilors goading us, clapping sarcastically, saying 'better luck next time' or 'hard lines'. It took everything, every fiber in my being, not to put the nut in one of them.”
She admitted later that she regretted her words. "That day, after two years of work, of course it was emotional. And no, I wasn't about to headbutt anyone," she told the Guardian.
Black will have to complete her dissertation, due at the end of the month, before taking her seat in Westminster. She said she is not nervous about becoming one the youngest MPs in the country’s history. "Nope – and I'm not saying that in an arrogant way, I'm saying that because I'm not the one who should be nervous – it's all of them down there who have to answer for what they've done, they're the ones who have to be accountable,” she told BuzzFeed.
"If I become an MP, the nerves should be on their part. Not mine," Black said.