POLL OF THE DAY: Is 22 too young to be an MP? YOUR VERDICT

Sam Carling
Sam Carling is the youngest MP to be elected
Oliver Trapnell

By Oliver Trapnell

Published: 09/07/2024

- 05:00

Updated: 11/07/2024

- 15:50

Is 22 too young to be an MP? Have your say in the comments section below

Sam Carling became the youngest MP after being elected for Labour in North West Cambridgeshire.

He contested the seat against Conservative veteran Shailesh Vara, who was elected into the seat in 2005.

However, Vara together with hundreds of other Tory MPs lost their seats to Labour as Keir Starmer’s Party won the General Election last week in a landslide.

Speaking on whether there should be an age limit on candidates, Broadcaster Emma Webb claimed candidates should have “life experience” to be an MP.

POLL OF THE DAY: Is 22 too young to be an MP? YOUR VERDICT

POLL OF THE DAY: Is 22 too young to be an MP? YOUR VERDICT

GB News

“If I were running for Parliament, I certainly wouldn't run under the age of 35.

“It's just simply because, and you may call me old fashioned, but I think that people should apprentice themselves to life in some way before they can really properly represent a constituency.

“I do think that experience and wisdom are some things that you can only gain with age.

“If you look at this MP who's only 22, I went to the same university.

Shailesh Vara was the Conservative MP for North West Cambridgeshire

Shailesh Vara was ousted as the MP for North West Cambridgeshire by Carling


“I would have been in no state, regardless of being a councillor, to become a representative of so many people at such a young age.

“So I think there is a good argument for it being conventional for MPs to be slightly older.

“Just simply because I think you need the opportunity not only to apprentice yourself to life but also to have the humility to apprentice yourself to the political and constitutional system in some way.”

In defence of Carling, Reform UK spokesperson Ann Widdecombe said: “I think that if he managed to convince his election committee and in turn, he then managed to convince the electorate, then that is simply democracy at work.

“I have a lot of sympathy with saying that you should have some life experience before you become a member of Parliament, and I think already that convention is pretty well there.

“If you look at the two big parties, on the whole, unless there is a shock result they return MPs in their 30s and 40s and way beyond, but an arbitrary age limit where you've just excluded the other.”

Ann Widdecombe, Tom Hardwood, Emily Carver, Emma WebbEmma Webb argued that they need more life experience GB News

Although Carling is the “baby of the House”, an unofficial title given to the youngest member of the House of Commons, he is not the youngest ever elected MP.

That title falls to Christopher Monck who was elected the MP for Devon in 1667 at the age of 13 and served for three years before being elevated to the House of Lords.

And in recent years the title was held by Mhairi Black who was elected to the Paisley and Renfrewshire South seat for the SNP at the age of 20 in the 2015 General Election.

The minimum age by law that people can be elected to an MP is 18 according to the Government website.

In the exclusive poll for GB News membership readers, an overwhelming majority (87 per cent) of the 933 voters thought 22 was too young to be an MP, while just 11 per cent thought it wasn't. Two per cent said they did not know.

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