A candidate for the Scottish National Party (SNP) could become the youngest Member of Parliament (MP) in the United Kingdom since 1667.
Self-proclaimed “geek” Mahiri Black, running for a seat in the House of Commons representing Paisley and Renfrewshire South constituency in Scotland, is currently 20 years old and still completing her studies at Glasgow University and actually has a good chance of winning.
The title of youngest MP in the UK’s history goes to Christopher Monck who was knight of the Shire for Devon in 1667.
Pollster Lord Ashcroft’s figures last February indicate she is 8% ahead of her nearest rival and latest figures say her lead has risen to 11%.
“It’s a bit mad, innit?” she said. “This is a real chance. Things like this don’t come along very often,” she adds as she continues to hit the campaign trail.
Her rival shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander of the Labour Party, is in a run for the money despite having secured a 16,614 majority in 2010.
“I am confident, but I have never been complacent,” he says.
Should Black eventually end up as the winner, observers believe she will bring “a seismic shift” in Scottish politics.
Despite her youth and inexperience, Black has been a strong candidate for the SNP who knows what she stands for and what her rival’s party doesn’t.
“People have been battered by a system that doesn’t care about them and they’ve had enough of austerity. You can feel the frustration that people have, that the principles have been abandoned by Labour. My dad is a lifelong Labour voter. 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 have fallen. They started taking people for granted. My dad and I joined the SNP on the same day. Labour have never had to campaign here, so I wanted to stand to force Douglas Alexander to do just that,” she says.
SNP has become the third largest membership among parties in the UK with more than 106,000 joining in over the past six months.
For his part, incumbent MP Alexander believes his party will maintain its hold in the area and in the rest of Scotland.
“I relish the chance to make the case to people locally and across Scotland. Labour in Scotland is winning back that lost ground. We embrace that enthusiasm and determination,” he said.
General elections in the United Kingdom will be held on May 7.