Baby of the House

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Baby of the House is the unofficial title given to the youngest member of a parliamentary house. The term is most often applied to members of the British parliament from which the term originated.[1] The title is named after the Father of the House, which is given to the longest serving member of the British and other parliaments.

Australia[edit]

In Australia the term is rarely used. Most MPs and Senators are elected usually only in their thirties and later but some prominent MPs have been elected rather early in life including Prime Ministers Malcolm Fraser and Paul Keating who were both elected at age 25 in 1955 and 1969 respectively. The youngest Baby of the House was Wyatt Roy. He was elected at age 20 in 2010, being the youngest person ever to be elected to an Australian parliament.[2]

The current Baby of the House is Chris Crewther MP (age 32). The current Baby of the Senate is Senator Jordon Steele-John (age 23).[3]

Canada[edit]

The youngest-ever elected member of the House of Commons of Canada is Pierre-Luc Dusseault, who was elected at the age of 19 years and 11 months in 2011. Dusseault is the youngest MP in Canadian history and currently serving as well.[4] In the past, MPs such as Sean O'Sullivan, Pierre Poilievre, Andrew Scheer, Claude-André Lachance and Lorne Nystrom have also held the distinction.

The previous youngest current MP was Nicolas Dufour, to represent the riding of Repentigny, Quebec, for the Bloc Québécois; born in June 1987, elected at 21 years and 4 months in age.

Hong Kong[edit]

In Hong Kong the term is rarely used. The current baby of the Legislative Council is Au Nok-hin who won in the Hong Kong Island by-election, 2018 after three younger members of the Legislative Council, the youngest-ever elected member Nathan Law, Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Leung were all disqualified over the oath-taking controversy.

Elected Name Constituency Party Age
1991 James To Kowloon Southwest GC United Democrats 28
1998 Bernard Chan Insurance FC Nonpartisan 33
2008 Chan Hak-kan New Territories East GC DAB 32
2012 Steven Ho Agriculture and Fisheries FC DAB 32
2016 Nathan Law Hong Kong Island GC Demosistō 23
2016 Ho Kai-ming Labour FC FTU 31
2018 (b) Au Nok-hin Hong Kong Island GC Independent 30

Hungary[edit]

The youngest-ever elected member of the National Assembly is Ilona Burka, who became MP at the age of 19 years, 5 months and 13 days on 12 May 1971, following the 1971 parliamentary election.

Member Party Date
Károly Wirth NYKP 1939–1944
András Kis MKP 1944–1945
András Hegedüs MKP 1945
István B. Rácz FKGP 1945–1947
János Gosztonyi NPP 1947–1949
Etel Kurlik MDP 1949–1953
Mária Inklovics MDP
MSZMP
1953–1957
Margit Kaptur MSZMP 1957–1958
Jusztina Csarnai MSZMP 1958–1963
István Ollári MSZMP 1963–1967
István Bartha MSZMP 1967–1971
Ilona Burka MSZMP 1971–1975
Valéria Czégai MSZMP 1975–1980
Ibolya Kovács MSZMP 1980–1985
Márta Danka MSZMP 1985–1989
Edit Bödő-Rózsa Ind. 1989–1990
SZDSZ
Béla Glattfelder Fidesz 1990–1993
Róbert Répássy Fidesz 1993–1994
László Botka MSZP 1994–1998
János Zuschlag MSZP 1998–2002
Péter Szijjártó Fidesz 2002–2006
László Nagy MSZP 2006–2010
Dóra Dúró Jobbik 2010–2018
Péter Ungár LMP 2018–present

Iran[edit]

Source:[5]
Elected Member Affiliation Age when elected
2012 Mohammad Hassannejad Independent 31
2016 Fatemeh Hosseini List of Hope 30

Ireland[edit]

In the Republic of Ireland the term is rarely used, as TDs normally enter the Dáil after a political career in local government, usually only in their thirties and later. The current baby of the Dáil is the Fianna Fáil deputy Jack Chambers (Dublin West), who was 25 years old when elected in February 2016.

The youngest TD of all time was William J. Murphy, elected age 21 years 29 days; the youngest female TD was Kathleen O'Connor, 21 years 7 months.

List of Babies of the Dáil[edit]

Elected Name Constituency Party Age
1943 Oliver J. Flanagan Laois–Offaly Fine Gael 23
1948 Neil Blaney Donegal East Fianna Fáil 26
1949 William J. Murphy Cork West Labour Party 21
1951 Declan Costello Dublin North-West Fine Gael 24
1956 Kathleen O'Connor Kerry North Clann na Poblachta 21
1957 Brigid Hogan Galway South Fine Gael 24
1958 Anthony Millar Galway South Fianna Fáil 23
1961 Lorcan Allen Wexford Fianna Fáil 21
1965 Desmond Foley Dublin County Fianna Fáil 24
1969 John Bruton Meath Fine Gael 22
1975 Máire Geoghegan-Quinn Galway West Fianna Fáil 24
1975 Enda Kenny Mayo West Fine Gael 24
1977 Síle de Valera Dublin County Mid Fianna Fáil 23
1979 Myra Barry Cork North-East Fine Gael 22
1981 Ivan Yates Wexford Fine Gael 21
1984 Brian Cowen Laois–Offaly Fianna Fáil 24
1987 Mary Coughlan Donegal South-West Fianna Fáil 21
1995 Mildred Fox Wicklow Independent 24
1997 Denis Naughten Longford–Roscommon Fine Gael 24
2002 Damien English Meath Fine Gael 24
2007 Lucinda Creighton Dublin South-East Fine Gael 27
2011 Simon Harris Wicklow Fine Gael 24
2016 Jack Chambers Dublin West Fianna Fáil 25

Baby of Seanad Éireann[edit]

The youngest senator in Seanad Éireann is Fintan Warfield who was elected as a senator at the age of 24.

Italy[edit]

Enzo Lattuca, baby of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.

The youngest member of the Chamber of Deputies ever is Enzo Lattuca (PD), elected in 2013 aged 25.

Malawi[edit]

The youngest MP in Malawi was Angela Zachepa who was voted in as MP at age 21.[6]

Malaysia[edit]

In Malaysia the term is rarely used. Most MPs and Senators are elected usually only in their thirties and later but some prominent MPs have been elected rather early in life including Prime Minister Najib Razak who was elected at 22 years and 6 months in age in 1976. The youngest-ever elected member of the Dewan Rakyat is Prabakaran Parameswaran, who was elected at the age of 22 years and 3 months in 2018. Prabakaran is the youngest MP in Malaysian history and currently serving as well.[7]

In Malaysia, any citizen 21 years of age or older can become a candidate and be elected to the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Undangan Negeri.[8] Minimum age for the Senator is 30 by constitution.

New Zealand[edit]

Like Australia, the term "Baby of the House" is rarely used. The current Baby of the House is Chlöe Swarbrick of the Green Party, who was elected on 24 September 2017 aged 23.[9] Swarbrick succeeded Todd Barclay of the National Party, who had been elected at the 2014 general election at age 24.[10][11]

Youngest MPs in the New Zealand House of Representatives
Name Electorate Party Date of birth Became baby Age
James Stuart-Wortley Christchurch Country Independent 16 January 1833 1 October 1853 20 years, 258 days
Robert Campbell Oamaru Independent 8 January 1843 6 April 1866 23 years, 88 days
Ralph Richardson Suburbs of Nelson Independent 1848 23 January 1871 22
William Pearson Ashley Independent 1854 9 December 1881 27
Arthur Rhodes Gladstone Independent 20 March 1859 26 September 1887 28 years, 190 days
Jackson Palmer Waitemata Independent Liberal 1867 5 December 1890 23
Patrick O'Regan Inangahua Liberal 6 February 1869 20 December 1893 24 years, 317 days
Thomas Wilford Wellington Suburbs Liberal 20 June 1870 4 December 1896 26 years, 167 days
Harry Bedford City of Dunedin Liberal 31 August 1877 25 November 1902 25 years, 86 days
Francis Fisher Wellington Central Liberal 22 December 1877 6 December 1905 27 years, 349 days
Tom Seddon Westland Liberal 2 July 1884 13 July 1906 22 years, 11 days
John A. Lee Auckland East Labour 31 October 1891 7 December 1922 31 years, 37 days
George Black Motueka United 21 November 1903 14 November 1928 24 years, 359 days
Keith Holyoake Motueka Reform 11 February 1904 1 December 1932 28 years, 294 days
Terry McCombs Lyttelton Labour 5 September 1905 24 July 1935 29 years, 322 days
Ormond Wilson Rangitikei Labour 18 November 1907 27 November 1935 28 years, 9 days
Joseph Cotterill Wanganui Labour 26 September 1905 15 October 1938 33 years, 19 days
Tapihana Paraire Paikea Northern Maori Labour 26 January 1920 24 September 1943 23 years, 241 days
Warren Freer Mt Albert Labour 27 December 1920 24 September 1947 26 years, 271 days
Jim Edwards Napier Labour 1927 13 November 1954 27
Basil Arthur Timaru Labour 18 September 1928 21 July 1962 33 years, 306 days
Brian MacDonell Dunedin Central Labour 19 May 1935 30 November 1963 28 years, 195 days
Jonathan Hunt New Lynn Labour 2 December 1938 26 November 1966 27 years, 359 days
Murray Rose Otago Central National 14 December 1939 29 November 1969 29 years, 350 days
Mike Moore Eden Labour 28 January 1949 25 November 1972 23 years, 302 days
Marilyn Waring Raglan National 7 October 1952 29 November 1975 23 years, 53 days
Simon Upton Waikato National 7 February 1958 28 November 1981 23 years, 294 days
Nick Smith Tasman National 24 December 1964 27 October 1990 25 years, 307 days
Nanaia Mahuta List Labour 21 August 1970 12 October 1996 26 years, 52 days
Darren Hughes Ōtaki Labour 3 April 1978 27 July 2002 24 years, 115 days
Jacinda Ardern List Labour 26 July 1980 8 November 2008 28 years, 105 days
Gareth Hughes List Green 31 October 1981 11 February 2010 28 years, 103 days
Jami-Lee Ross Botany National 10 December 1985 5 March 2011 25 years, 85 days
Todd Barclay Clutha-Southland National 8 June 1990 20 September 2014 24 years, 104 days
Chlöe Swarbrick List Green 26 June 1994 23 September 2017 23 years, 89 days

Philippines[edit]

In the Congress of the Philippines, the term "Baby of the House" is rarely used, nor is being the youngest member of either chamber given special treatment. The minimum age for being a member of the House of Representatives is 25 years old, while for the Senate, it is 35, as stipulated in the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines. In 1933, Benigno Aquino, Sr. became senator at the age of 33;[12] the Jones Law, which created the Senate, had prescribed the minimum age of 30.

South Africa[edit]

The current[when?] titleholder is Hlomela Bucwa.

Sweden[edit]

Entered Name Constituency Party Age Note
2002 Gustav Fridolin Stockholm Municipality Green 19 Minister for Education, 2014–present
2006 Annie Lööf Jönköping County Centre 23 Minister for Enterprise, 2011–2014
2010 Anton Abele Stockholm Municipality Moderate 18
2014 Dennis Dioukarev Jönköping County Sweden Democrats 21
2015 Jesper Skalberg Karlsson Gotland County Moderate 21 Replaced Gustaf Hoffstedt on 19 January 2015

The current Baby of the House is Jesper Skalberg Karlsson (entered in January 2015 at the age of 21). The youngest person ever to be elected MP to a Swedish parliament is Anton Abele who was only aged 18 when elected in September 2010.[13] Current record holder for the world's youngest-ever elected MP is Anton Abele, who was at 18 years elected to the Swedish Parliament for his activism against street violence.[14]

Uganda[edit]

At 19 years old Proscovia Alengot Oromait is currently the world's youngest MP and youngest ever MP in Africa. Miss Oromait is a member of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) in Uganda and a representative of Usuk County.

United Kingdom[edit]

Mhairi Black, Baby of the UK House of Commons in 2018

Becoming the Baby of the House is regarded as something of an achievement despite the lack of any special treatment that comes with the title. However, some MPs who have held the position for a considerable period – Matthew Taylor was the Baby of the House for over ten years – have found it somewhat embarrassing, as it may suggest that they have a lack of experience, although a perusal of the list shows that many holders of the title in fact went on to enjoy long, significant and distinguished parliamentary careers.

At the turn of the twenty-first century (August 1999 to September 2001), all three of the leaders of the main political parties had been the youngest MPs in their party when they began their political careers (William Hague, Tony Blair, Charles Kennedy).

Of those whose ages can be verified, the youngest MP since the Reform Act of 1832[15] is Mhairi Black, elected in 2015 aged 20 years 237 days.[16] The age of candidacy for Parliament was lowered from 21 to 18 by the Electoral Administration Act of 2006. William Pitt the Younger was elected at 21 and became Prime Minister two years later in 1783.

List of Babies of the House of Commons[edit]

Elected Name Constituency Party Age when elected
1880 (b) James Dickson Dungannon Liberal 21
1885 Harry Levy-Lawson St Pancras West Liberal 22
1888 (b) Lord Walter Gordon-Lennox Chichester Conservative 22
1890 (b) Henry Harrison Mid Tipperary Irish Parliamentary 22
1891 (b) Victor Cavendish West Derbyshire Conservative 23
1891 (b) Frederick Smith Strand Conservative 23
1892 Thomas Bartholomew Curran Kilkenny City Irish National Federation 22
1895 Viscount Milton Wakefield Liberal Unionist 22
1898 (b) Sir Samuel Scott, Bt Marylebone West Conservative 24
1898 (b) Arthur Hill West Down Conservative 24
1900 Richard Rigg Appleby Liberal 23
1904 (b) Viscount Turnour Horsham Conservative 21
1906 Lord Wodehouse Mid Norfolk Liberal 22
1910 Charles Thomas Mills Uxbridge Conservative 22
1910 Viscount Wolmer Newton Liberal 23
1912 (b) Sir Philip Sassoon, Bt Hythe Conservative 23
1915 (b) John Esmonde North Tipperary Irish Parliamentary 21
1916 (b) Patrick Joseph Whitty North Louth Irish Parliamentary 21
1917 (b) Lord Stanley Liverpool Abercromby Conservative 22
1918[17] Joseph Aloysius Sweeney West Donegal Sinn Féin 21
1919 (b) Esmond Harmsworth Isle of Thanet Coalition Conservative 21
1922 Arthur Evans Leicester East National Liberal 24
1923 Charles Rhys Romford Conservative 24
1924 Hugh Lucas-Tooth Isle of Ely Conservative 21
1929 (b) Jennie Lee North Lanarkshire Labour 24
1929 Frank Owen Hereford Liberal 23
1931 Roland Robinson Widnes Conservative 24
1933 (b) Lord Willoughby de Eresby Rutland and Stamford Conservative 25
1935 (b) Charles Taylor Eastbourne Conservative 24
1935 Malcolm Macmillan Western Isles Labour 22
1940 (b) John Profumo Kettering Conservative 25
1941 (b) George Charles Grey Berwick-upon-Tweed Liberal 22
1944[18] John Profumo Kettering Conservative 29
1945 (b) Ernest Millington Chelmsford Common Wealth 29
1945 Edward Carson Isle of Thanet Conservative 25
1948 (b) Roy Jenkins Southwark Central Labour 27
1950 Peter Baker South Norfolk Conservative 28
1950 (b)[19] Tony Benn Bristol South East Labour 25
1950 (b) Thomas Teevan Belfast West UUP 23
1951[20] Tony Benn Bristol South East Labour 26
1954 (b) John Eden Bournemouth West Conservative 28
1954 (b) John Woollam Liverpool West Derby Conservative 27
1955[21] Philip Clarke Fermanagh and South Tyrone Sinn Féin 21
1955[21] Peter Kirk Gravesend Conservative 27
1956 (b) Marcus Kimball Gainsborough Conservative 27
1957 (b) Robert Cooke Bristol West Conservative 26
1958 (b)[22] Basil de Ferranti Morecambe and Lunesdale Conservative 28
1958 (b) Patrick Wolrige-Gordon East Aberdeenshire Conservative 23
1959 (b) Paul Channon Southend West Conservative 23
1964 Teddy Taylor Glasgow Cathcart Conservative 27
1965 (b) David Steel Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles Liberal 26
1966 John Ryan Uxbridge Labour 25
1967 (b) Les Huckfield Nuneaton Labour 24
1969 (b) Bernadette Devlin Mid Ulster Unity 21
Feb 1974 Dafydd Elis-Thomas Merioneth Plaid Cymru 27
Oct 1974 Hélène Hayman Welwyn and Hatfield Labour 25
1977 (b) Andrew MacKay Birmingham Stechford Conservative 27
1979 (b) David Alton Liverpool Edge Hill Liberal 28
1979 Stephen Dorrell Loughborough Conservative 27
1981 (b)[23] Bobby Sands Fermanagh and South Tyrone Anti H-Block 27
1981[18] Stephen Dorrell Loughborough Conservative 29
1981 (b)[23] Owen Carron Fermanagh and South Tyrone Anti H-Block 28
1983 Charles Kennedy Ross, Cromarty and Skye Social Democratic 23
1987 (b) Matthew Taylor Truro Liberal 24
1997[24] Chris Leslie Shipley Labour 24
2000 (b) David Lammy Tottenham Labour 27
2003 (b) Sarah Teather Brent East Liberal Democrat 29
2005 Jo Swinson East Dunbartonshire Liberal Democrat 25
2009 (b) Chloe Smith Norwich North Conservative 27
2010 Pamela Nash Airdrie and Shotts Labour 25
2015 Mhairi Black Paisley and Renfrewshire South SNP 20

[ (b) – by-election]

Baby of the House of Lords[edit]

As of 2017, the youngest member of the House of Lords is The Baroness Bertin (born 14 March 1978) who was created a life peer on 2 September 2016, at the age of 38.[25] Hereditary peer Lord Redesdale (born 18 July 1967) was created a life peer on 18 April 2000 at the age of 32, becoming the youngest ever life peer, to enable him to continue to sit after the removal of the majority of hereditary peers.

Standing Orders state that "No Lord under the age of one and twenty years shall be permitted to sit in the House". When most members of the Lords were hereditary peers, a peer who had inherited his or her peerage(s) while under age was entitled to take a seat on his or her 21st birthday. In theory, such a hereditary peer could be elected to sit in the House at that age; in practice, the youngest hereditary peer is Lord Freyberg (born 15 December 1970), who was elected in October 1999 at the age of 28.

List of youngest members of the Scottish Parliament[edit]

This is a list of youngest members of the Scottish Parliament created in 1999.

Elected Name Constituency/region Party Age when elected
1999 Duncan Hamilton Highlands and Islands region SNP 25[26]
2003 Richard Baker North East Scotland region Labour 28
2007 John Lamont Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire constituency Conservative 31
2011 Humza Yousaf Glasgow region SNP 26
2016 Ross Greer West Scotland region Scottish Green 21

United States[edit]

While the term is used in the Commonwealth Parliaments, Baby of the House/Senate is not in general contemporary use in the United States, nor does being the youngest member guarantee special treatment in either house of Congress.

Members of the U.S. Congress tend to be older than parliamentarians elsewhere in the English-speaking world, a main factor being that the minimum ages for members of Congress is written into Article One of the United States Constitution, which forbids persons under the age of 25 from serving in the House and persons under the age of 30 from serving in the Senate. Moreover, election to the federal Congress is expensive and requires extensive contacts and recognition across a very wide area. Individuals aiming to serve in the federal legislature generally seek election to the state legislature (which generally have lower minimum ages for entry) or other state office before seeking to serve in Washington.

In the 115th Congress, which began on 3 January 2017, the youngest member of the United States House of Representatives is Elise Stefanik (R-NY 21), who was born on (1984-07-02) 2 July 1984 (age 34), and was first elected in 2015. She is also the youngest woman elected to the House in U.S. history. The second youngest member is Mike Gallagher (R-WI 8) who was born on (1984-03-03) 3 March 1984 (age 34), and was first elected in 2017. Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN 9) is the third youngest house member, born on (1983-09-12) 12 September 1983 (age 34).

Currently the youngest U.S. Senator is Tom Cotton (R-AR) born on (1977-05-13) 13 May 1977 (age 41), and first elected in 2014; Cory Gardner (R-CO) is the second youngest senator, and Chris Murphy (D-CT) is the third youngest.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ of the House: House of Commons Background Paper – Commons Library Standard Note from UK Parliament, accessed on 1 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Australia's youngest MP says future PM suggestion is 'ridiculous'". news.com.au. 4 October 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015. 
  3. ^ "Jordon Steele-John, the 'political nerd' who is ringing the changes". The Guardian. 11 November 2017. Retrieved 12 November 2017. 
  4. ^ Banerjee, Sidhartha (4 May 2011). "19-year-old sets record as youngest MP; NDPer planned summer job at golf course". The Canadian Press. 
  5. ^ Nasrin Vaziri. "اعضای هیات رئیسه سنی در 10 مجلس شورای اسلامی/چهار رئیس سنی تا کنون درگذشته‌اند" (in Persian). Khabar Online. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 July 2010. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  7. ^ "Malaysia's youngest MP Prabakaran joins PKR". Malay Mail. 13 May 2018. Retrieved 2018-08-06. 
  8. ^ "Penjalanan Pilihan Raya: Calon". Election Commission of Malaysia. Retrieved 2018-08-06. 
  9. ^ "Chloe Swarbrick, 23, set to become NZ's youngest MP in 42 years". The New Zealand Herald. 23 September 2017. Retrieved 24 September 2017. 
  10. ^ Rutherford, Hamish (29 April 2014). "Who is National's Todd Barclay?". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  11. ^ "Election 2014: Southland decides". The Southland Times. 20 September 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "FAST FACTS: Trivia on the Philippine Senate". Rappler. 2016-10-16. Retrieved 10 February 2018. 
  13. ^ Anton, 18, to be youngest ever Swedish MP – The Local Archived 15 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 June 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  15. ^ Prior to 1832 minors could be elected; precise information on those MPs is often unclear.
  16. ^ MacAskill, Ewen; Ratcliffe, Rebecca (8 May 2015). "Mhairi Black: the 20-year-old who beat a Labour heavyweight". Retrieved 6 January 2018 – via www.theguardian.com. 
  17. ^ Joseph Aloysius Sweeney did not take his seat; the youngest MP actually sitting in the House of Commons was Oswald Mosley (Conservative, aged 22).
  18. ^ a b Became the youngest MP for a second time, on the death of the previous youngest MP.
  19. ^ Tony Benn was first elected at the Bristol South East by-election, 1950, aged 25, the day after Thomas Teevan, who was aged 23, but Benn took the oath the day before Teevan, and so was Baby of the House for a single day.
  20. ^ Tony Benn became the youngest MP again after the 1951 general election, on the defeat of Teevan.
  21. ^ a b Elected on an abstentionist ticket, Philip Clarke did not take his seat. Peter Kirk was first elected at the 1955 general election, when he became the youngest MP to take his seat, but only became the youngest MP with the disqualification of Philip Clarke later in the year.
  22. ^ Basil de Ferranti was the youngest MP for 15 days between his taking his seat after the Morecambe and Lunesdale by-election, 1958 and Patrick Wolrige-Gordon taking his seat after the East Aberdeenshire by-election, 1958.
  23. ^ a b Elected on an abstentionist ticket, Bobby Sands and Owen Carron did not take their seats; Stephen Dorrell remained the youngest MP actually sitting in the House of Commons.
  24. ^ Although several sources claim Claire Ward was the youngest MP during this period, she was 50 days older than Chris Leslie.
  25. ^ Parliament.UK – House of Lords FAQS – Membership and principal office holders at parliament.uk
  26. ^ McColm, Euan (8 March 2017). "This time the SNP will get real". The Scotsman. Retrieved 16 April 2018. 

References[edit]