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At 20 years old, Mhairi Black may be the youngest lawmaker in the U.K. Parliament since 1667, but she has already shown to her peers in the House of Commons that when it comes to issues of social justice, she will pull no punches.

In her stunning debut speech Tuesday, the Member of Parliament for the Scottish constituency of Paisley and Renfrewshire South attacked the government for rising poverty levels, the reliance on food banks and cuts to the welfare system.

Black, who has just graduated from Glasgow University, said Britain had “one of the most uncaring, uncompromising and out-of-touch governments that the U.K. has seen since Thatcher.”

She called out the chancellor George Osborne for abolishing housing support for under-21-year-olds, saying that, “We are now in the ridiculous situation whereby, because I am an MP … I am also the only 20-year-old in the whole of the U.K. the chancellor is prepared to help with housing.” (British lawmakers who do not live in London get housing subsidies from the government.)

Black’s Scottish National Party won an unprecedented number of seats in May’s general election, and she lambasted their political rivals, the Labour Party, for forgetting “the very people they are supposed to represent.”

She ended her rousing speech by calling on all the parties of the opposition to work together to “be the signpost of a better society.”


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