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Youngest MP Mhairi Black's maiden speech watched by millions

Published 19/07/2015

SNP MP Mhairi Black received widespread praise for her first contribution in the House of Commons
SNP MP Mhairi Black received widespread praise for her first contribution in the House of Commons

The maiden speech by Westminster's youngest MP Mhairi Black has racked up more than 10 million online views.

The SNP politician received widespread praise for her first contribution in the House of Commons during the Budget debate on Tuesday.

Her speech - in which she attacked the Conservative Government and Labour's opposition - had been seen by almost 10.7 million people as of Saturday.

This included 5.5 million views on Channel Four News' Facebook page, a further three million on Buzzfeed UK and more than 650,000 on the SNP's own Facebook page. It has also been viewed more than one million times through the Guardian, Huffington Post and ITV News websites and Facebook pages.

The new MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South received rousing applause from her own party in the chamber as she sat down on Tuesday, while Twitter was alight with positive comments, including from some of Ms Black's political rivals.

The speech was also picked up by TIME magazine, with the headline "Watch this 20-year-old legislator completely own the UK Parliament".

During the speech, Ms Black told parliament that her comments were intended to ''hold a mirror to the face of a party that seems to have forgotten the very people they are supposed to represent''.

Britain, she said, now had ''one of the most uncaring, uncompromising and out of touch governments that the UK has seen since Thatcher''.

Ms Black said she had ''very deliberately stayed quiet'' and listened intently to Commons debate for the last 10 weeks.

She said: ''I have heard multiple speeches from Labour benches standing to talk about the worrying rise of nationalism in Scotland, when in actual fact all these speeches have served to do is to demonstrate how deep the lack of understanding about Scotland is within the Labour Party.

''I, like so many SNP members, come from a traditional socialist Labour family, and I have never been quiet in my assertion that I feel it is the Labour Party that left me, not the other way about.''

SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson said: "Mhairi's outstanding maiden speech was principled and passionate. She is without a doubt a huge credit to Paisley and to the SNP.

"The House of Commons listened in silence to its youngest member remind us all why we are sitting in our place and those we were elected to speak for - it is of no surprise that this message had resonance far beyond the walls of Westminster. That millions of people across the UK and abroad watched her speech is staggering.

"Mhairi has an enormous contribution to make to parliament - she is one strong voice of 56 elected to stand up for Scotland and for progressive change across the UK."

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