Mixed Bag For British Young Electeds

By John Celock

Two twenty-somethings won seats in Thursday’s United Kingdom elections, while two of the most prominent politicians under 40 in the U.K. lost their seats.

The election saw 22-year-old Mhairi Black, a Scottish National Party politician from Scotland, retain her seat as the member of Parliament from Paisley and Renfrewshire South. Black, who was first elected in 2015 at the age of 20, will remain the youngest member of the House of Commons. Black is the youngest member of the House of Commons since the 1800s.

Twenty six year-old Jack Brereton, a Conservative Party member, was elected the new MP from Stoke-on-Trent South, becoming the first Conservative Party member to win the seat since 1935. Brereton defeated Robert Fiello, who had held the seat for the Labour Party since 2005.

The election results come as the ruling Conservative Party lost its majority, in a sudden election called by Prime Minister Theresa May with the intent of increasing her majority.

In the Ipswich constituency, 39-year-old Conservative Ben Gummer, the paymaster general and cabinet office minister in May’s cabinet, was defeated in his bid to retain the seat he has held since 2010. Gummer, who coordinated policy and government administration for May, was unseated by Labour Party member Sandy Martin. Gummer is also a former health services minister in the British government.

Thirty two-year-old Conservative James Wharton, an international development minister, was defeated in the Stockton South constituency by Labour Party member Paul Williams. Wharton, who was an MP for seven years, was previously the northern powerhouse minister in the British government.

Several young ministers from the Conservative Party retained their seats. Constitution Minister Chris Skidmore, 36, retained his seat as MP from Kingswood, while 38-year-old Digital and Culture Minister Matt Hancock was reelected as the MP from West Suffolk. Hancock has had a varied career as a minister since being appointed to the government in 2012, including serving as skills minister, energy, business, enterprise and Portsmouth minister and paymaster general prior to taking his current role last year.