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Mhairi Black
Mhairi Black bossing it outside Westminstervia

Watch this 20-year old female MP show old men how it’s done

SNP member Mhairi Black gave her maiden speech in the House of Commons yesterday and proved how inspirational youth can be when it’s given a voice

When 20-year-old Mhairi Black was elected as MP in Scotland, many saw it as a reflection on her veteran Labour predecessor. rather than a vindication of her. “You got beaten by a twenty-year-oldHow embarrassing.” She’s been called a "slut" by an eminent and well-respected academic for daring to be a young woman representing in politics and has been watched with curiosity by political sketch writers and MPs alike. What is someone so young going to do in Westminster?

Yesterday, Mhairi Black, who sits with Westminster staff instead of in the special cordoned-off MP bit of the dining hall, certainly did embarrass the older Members of Parliament. She made an eloquent and intelligent maiden speech, holding to account Tory and Labour MPs alike and bringing up the fact that the budget really did not treat young people with the respect they deserve. 

She said “In this budget the Chancellor also abolished any housing benefit for anyone below the age of 21. So we are now in the ridiculous situation whereby because I am an MP not only am I the youngest, but I am also the only 20-year-old in the whole of the UK that the Chancellor is prepared to help with housing. We now have one of the most uncaring, uncompromising and out of touch governments that the UK has seen since Thatcher.” 

Having someone young in Parliament not only shows that we aren’t all wasters who don’t deserve representation or a fair deal from the people elected to represent us, but also gives us some kind of representation. Black is our age and understands that cutting grants and housing benefit will hold us back. We have it harder than the MPs who got their education for free and grew up in a world where if you couldn’t afford to rent a roof over your head, the government would probably provide one, no matter whether you were 18 or 80. She gets it, and she is fighting for us.