Mhairi Black, the freshly elected lawmaker from Scotland, will soon be heading down from her constituency of Paisley and Renfrewshire South to Westminster. But she has an immediate challenge ahead of her: getting her university degree.
Black is all of 20 years old. And Friday, she made history by becoming the youngest lawmaker in UK history since the 17th century.
As member of the Scottish Nationalist Party (the SNP), she went up against Douglas Alexander, a long-time Labour Party heavy-hitter. He is a former Cabinet minister and such a shrewd veteran of political campaigns that he was Labour’s campaign chief.
He is also a member of the shadow cabinet — the group of politicians from the opposition party who would head up ministries if in power. If he had been elected, and had Labour come to power, he would have become the new foreign secretary, a position similar to the Secretary of State in the U.S.
But in the end, her 23,548 votes outstripped her opponent – Alexander ended the night with 17,864 votes – overturning the veteran’s huge majority from the 2010 general election. Alexander has represented the area since 1997, and today marks the first time for 70 years that the constituency has not been a Labour seat.