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.[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 current Baby of the House is Wyatt Roy (age 25; he was elected at age 20 in 2010, being the youngest person ever to be elected to an Australian parliament) and the current Baby of the Senate is Sarah Hanson-Young (age 33).[2]

Canada[edit]

The youngest-ever elected member of the Canadian House of Commons 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.[3] In the past, MPs such as 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. The youngest current female MP is Laurin Liu, NDP MP for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, Québec.[4]

Republic of Ireland[edit]

In the Republic of Ireland the term is rarely used, as most TDs are elected usually only in their thirties and later. The current baby of the Dáil is the Fine Gael deputy Simon Harris (Wicklow), who was 24 years old when elected in 2011. 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 Flanagan, Oliver J.Oliver J. Flanagan Laois–Offaly Fine Gael 23
1948 Blaney, NeilNeil Blaney Donegal East Fianna Fáil 26
1949 Murphy, William J.William J. Murphy Cork West Labour Party 21
1951 Costello, DeclanDeclan Costello Dublin North–West Fine Gael 24
1956 O'Connor, KathleenKathleen O'Connor Kerry North Clann na Poblachta 21
1957 Hogan, BrigidBrigid Hogan Galway South Fine Gael 24
1958 Millar, AnthonyAnthony Millar Galway South Fianna Fáil 23
1961 Allen, LorcanLorcan Allen Wexford Fianna Fáil 21
1965 Foley, DesmondDesmond Foley Dublin County Fianna Fáil 24
1969 Bruton, JohnJohn Bruton Meath Fine Gael 22
1975 Geoghegan-Quinn, MáireMáire Geoghegan-Quinn Galway West Fianna Fáil 24
1975 Kenny, EndaEnda Kenny Mayo West Fine Gael 24
1977 de Valera, SíleSíle de Valera Dublin County Mid Fianna Fáil 23
1979 Barry, MyraMyra Barry Cork North–East Fine Gael 22
1981 Yates, IvanIvan Yates Wexford Fine Gael 21
1984 Cowen, BrianBrian Cowen Laois–Offaly Fianna Fáil 24
1987 Coughlan, MaryMary Coughlan Donegal South–West Fianna Fáil 21
1995 Fox, MildredMildred Fox Wicklow Independent 24
1997 Naughten, DenisDenis Naughten Longford–Roscommon Fine Gael 24
2002 English, DamienDamien English Meath Fine Gael 24
2007 Creighton, LucindaLucinda Creighton Dublin South–East Fine Gael 27
2011 Harris, SimonSimon Harris Wicklow Fine Gael 24

Baby of the Seanad Éireann[edit]

The youngest senator in the Seanad Éireann is Kathryn Reilly who was elected as senator at the age of 22.

Malawi[edit]

The youngest MP in Malawi was Angela Zachepa who was voted in as MP at age 21.[5]

Malaysia[edit]

In Malaysia the term is rarely used. Most MPs are elected usually only in their thirties and later but some prominent MPs have been elected rather early in life including Prime Ministers Najib Razak who were elected at 22 years, 6 months in age in 1976 by-election following the death of his father, Abdul Razak Hussein.

The current youngest MP is Zairil Khir Johari aged 32 years, 10 months. The age of candidacy for election to public office at federal and state level is 21.

Youngest MPs in the Dewan Rakyat[6]
Name Electorate Party Date of birth Entered Parliament Age
Zahari Awang Kuala Krai Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party 24 August 1974 24
Najib Razak Pekan BN (UMNO) 23 July 1953 21 February 1976 22
Fong Po Kuan Batu Gajah Democratic Action Party 15 September 1973 29 November 1999 26
Teo Nie Ching Serdang Democratic Action Party 27 January 1981 8 March 2008 27
Zairil Khir Johari Bukit Bendera Democratic Action Party 17 October 1982 5 May 2013 32

New Zealand[edit]

Like Australia, the term "Baby of the House" is rarely used. "Youngest MP" is the usual term. The current Baby of the House is Todd Barclay of the National Party, who was elected on 20 September 2014 aged 24.[7][8] Barclay succeeded Jami-Lee Ross of the National Party, who was elected to Parliament in the Botany by-election on 5 March 2011, aged 25.[7]

Youngest MPs in the New Zealand House of Representatives
Name Electorate Party Date of birth Entered Parliament Age
Moore, MikeMike Moore Eden Labour 28 January 1949 25 November 1972 23
Waring, MarilynMarilyn Waring Raglan National 7 October 1952 29 November 1975 23
Hughes, DarrenDarren Hughes Ōtaki Labour 3 April 1978 27 July 2002 24
Ardern, JacindaJacinda Ardern (List) Labour 26 July 1980 8 November 2008 28
Hughes, GarethGareth Hughes (List) Green 31 October 1981 11 February 2010 28
Ross, Jami-LeeJami-Lee Ross Botany National 10 December 1985 5 March 2011 25
Barclay, ToddTodd Barclay Clutha-Southland National 8 June 1990 20 September 2014 24

South Africa[edit]

The current titleholder is Yusuf Cassim.

Sweden[edit]

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

The current Baby of the House is Mr Dennis Dioukarev (elected in September 2014 at the age of 21). The youngest person ever to be elected MP to a Swedish parliament is Mr Anton Abele who was only aged 18 when elected in September 2010.[9] 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.[10]

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, current Baby of the UK House of Commons

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 babies in fact went on to enjoy long, significant and distinguished parliamentary careers. From 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[11] is Mhairi Black, elected in 2015 aged 20 years 237 days.[12] The age of candidacy for Parliament was lowered from 21 to 18 by the Electoral Administration Act of 2006.

In more recent times, the oldest Baby at first election is Sarah Teather, elected in 2003 aged 29 years 109 days.

List of Babies of the House of Commons[edit]

Elected Name Constituency Party Age when elected
1880 (b) Dickson, JamesJames Dickson Dungannon Liberal 21
1885 Levy-Lawson, HarryHarry Levy-Lawson St Pancras West Liberal 22
1888 (b) Gordon-Lennox, Lord WalterLord Walter Gordon-Lennox Chichester Conservative 22
1890 (b) Harrison, HenryHenry Harrison Mid Tipperary Irish Parliamentary 22
1891 (b) Cavendish, VictorVictor Cavendish West Derbyshire Conservative 23
1891 (b) Smith, FrederickFrederick Smith Strand Conservative 23
1892 Curran, Thomas BartholomewThomas Bartholomew Curran Kilkenny City Irish National Federation 22
1895 Milton, ViscountViscount Milton Wakefield Liberal Unionist 22
1898 (b) Scott, Bt, Sir SamuelSir Samuel Scott, Bt Marylebone West Conservative 24
1898 (b) Hill, ArthurArthur Hill West Down Conservative 24
1900 Rigg, RichardRichard Rigg Appleby Liberal 23
1904 (b) Turnour, ViscountViscount Turnour Horsham Conservative 21
1906 Wodehouse, LordLord Wodehouse Mid Norfolk Liberal 22
1910 Mills, Charles ThomasCharles Thomas Mills Uxbridge Conservative 22
1910 Wolmer, ViscountViscount Wolmer Newton Liberal 23
1912 (b) Sassoon, Bt, Sir PhilipSir Philip Sassoon, Bt Hythe Conservative 23
1915 (b) Esmonde, JohnJohn Esmonde North Tipperary Irish Parliamentary 21
1916 (b) Whitty, Patrick JosephPatrick Joseph Whitty North Louth Irish Parliamentary 21
1917 (b) Stanley, LordLord Stanley Liverpool Abercromby Conservative 22
1918[13] Sweeney, Joseph AloysiusJoseph Aloysius Sweeney West Donegal Sinn Féin 21
1919 (b) Harmsworth, EsmondEsmond Harmsworth Isle of Thanet Coalition Conservative 21
1922 Evans, ArthurArthur Evans Leicester East National Liberal 24
1923 Rhys, CharlesCharles Rhys Romford Conservative 24
1924 Lucas-Tooth, HughHugh Lucas-Tooth Isle of Ely Conservative 21
1929 (b) Lee, JennieJennie Lee North Lanarkshire Labour 24
1929 Owen, FrankFrank Owen Hereford Liberal 23
1931 Robinson, RolandRoland Robinson Widnes Conservative 24
1933 (b) Willoughby de Eresby, LordLord Willoughby de Eresby Rutland and Stamford Conservative 25
1935 (b) Taylor, CharlesCharles Taylor Eastbourne Conservative 24
1935 Macmillan, MalcolmMalcolm Macmillan Western Isles Labour 22
1940 (b) Profumo, JohnJohn Profumo Kettering Conservative 25
1941 (b) Grey, George CharlesGeorge Charles Grey Berwick-upon-Tweed Liberal 22
1944[14] Profumo, JohnJohn Profumo Kettering Conservative 29
1945 (b) Millington, ErnestErnest Millington Chelmsford Common Wealth 29
1945 Carson, EdwardEdward Carson Isle of Thanet Conservative 25
1948 (b) Jenkins, RoyRoy Jenkins Southwark Central Labour 27
1950 Baker, PeterPeter Baker South Norfolk Conservative 28
1950 (b)[15] Benn, TonyTony Benn Bristol South East Labour 25
1950 (b) Teevan, ThomasThomas Teevan Belfast West UUP 23
1951[16] Benn, TonyTony Benn Bristol South East Labour 26
1954 (b) Eden, JohnJohn Eden Bournemouth West Conservative 28
1954 (b) Woollam, JohnJohn Woollam Liverpool West Derby Conservative 27
1955[17] Clarke, PhilipPhilip Clarke Fermanagh and South Tyrone Sinn Féin 21
1955[17] Kirk, PeterPeter Kirk Gravesend Conservative 27
1956 (b) Kimball, MarcusMarcus Kimball Gainsborough Conservative 27
1957 (b) Cooke, RobertRobert Cooke Bristol West Conservative 26
1958 (b)[18] de Ferranti, BasilBasil de Ferranti Morecambe and Lunesdale Conservative 28
1958 (b) Wolrige-Gordon, PatrickPatrick Wolrige-Gordon East Aberdeenshire Conservative 23
1959 (b) Channon, PaulPaul Channon Southend West Conservative 23
1964 Taylor, TeddyTeddy Taylor Glasgow Cathcart Conservative 27
1965 (b) Steel, DavidDavid Steel Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles Liberal 26
1966 John RyanJohn Ryan Uxbridge Labour 25
1967 (b) Huckfield, LesLes Huckfield Nuneaton Labour 24
1969 (b) Devlin, BernadetteBernadette Devlin Mid Ulster Unity 21
Feb 1974 Elis-Thomas, DafyddDafydd Elis-Thomas Merioneth Plaid Cymru 27
Oct 1974 Hayman, HélèneHélène Hayman Welwyn and Hatfield Labour 25
1977 (b) MacKay, AndrewAndrew MacKay Birmingham Stechford Conservative 27
1979 (b) Alton, DavidDavid Alton Liverpool Edge Hill Liberal 28
1979 Dorrell, StephenStephen Dorrell Loughborough Conservative 27
1981 (b)[19] Sands, BobbyBobby Sands Fermanagh and South Tyrone Anti H-Block 27
1981[14] Dorrell, StephenStephen Dorrell Loughborough Conservative 29
1981 (b)[19] Carron, OwenOwen Carron Fermanagh and South Tyrone Anti H-Block 28
1983 Kennedy, CharlesCharles Kennedy Ross, Cromarty and Skye Social Democratic 23
1987 (b) Taylor, MatthewMatthew Taylor Truro Liberal 24
1997[20] Leslie, ChrisChris Leslie Shipley Labour 24
2000 (b) Lammy, DavidDavid Lammy Tottenham Labour 27
2003 (b) Teather, SarahSarah Teather Brent East Liberal Democrat 29
2005 Swinson, JoJo Swinson East Dunbartonshire Liberal Democrat 25
2009 (b) Smith, ChloeChloe Smith Norwich North Conservative 27
2010 Nash, PamelaPamela Nash Airdrie and Shotts Labour 25
2015 Black, MhairiMhairi Black Paisley and Renfrewshire South SNP 20

[ (b) – by-election]

Baby of the House of Lords[edit]

As of February 2015, the youngest member of the House of Lords is The Lord Wei (born 19 January 1977) who entered the house on 3 June 2010 at the age of 33 .[21] 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.

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 114th Congress, which began on 3 January 2015, 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 31). She is also the youngest woman elected to the House in U.S. history. She replaces Patrick Murphy (D-FL 18) who was born on (1983-03-30) 30 March 1983 (age 32), and was first elected in 2012. Murphy is now the second youngest House member.

Currently the youngest U.S. Senator is Tom Cotton (R-AR) born on (1977-05-13) 13 May 1977 (age 38), 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. ^ Barrett, R. (2010), "Dad says nation's youngest MP Wyatt Roy 'won't sit there quietly'". The Australian, 23 August 2010, Page 9.
  3. ^ Banerjee, Sidhartha (4 May 2011). "19-year-old sets record as youngest MP; NDPer planned summer job at golf course". The Canadian Press. 
  4. ^ Members of the House of Commons – Average Age.
  5. ^ http://www.malawivoice.com/entertainment/atupele-muluzi-to-engage-former-youngest-parliamentarian-angella-zachepa/
  6. ^ http://www.kosmo.com.my/kosmo/content.asp?y=2008&dt=0224&pub=Kosmo&sec=Rencana_Utama&pg=ru_03.htm
  7. ^ a b Rutherford, Hamish (29 April 2014). "Who is National's Todd Barclay?". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  8. ^ "Election 2014: Southland decides". The Southland Times. 20 September 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2014. 
  9. ^ Anton, 18, to be youngest ever Swedish MP – The Local
  10. ^ http://www.futureworldpress.com/2012/10/05/ugandan-teenager-becomes-youngest-mp-in-africa/
  11. ^ Prior to 1832 minors could be elected; precise information on those MPs is often unclear.
  12. ^ The Guardian
  13. ^ Joseph Aloysius Sweeney did not take his seat; the youngest MP actually sitting in the House of Commons was Oswald Mosley (Conservative, aged 22).
  14. ^ a b Became the youngest MP for a second time, on the death of the previous youngest MP.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Tony Benn became the youngest MP again after the 1951 general election, on the defeat of Teevan.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ Basil de Ferranti was the youngest MP for 15 days between his taking his seat after the Morecambe by-election and Patrick Wolrige-Gordon taking his seat after the East Aberdeenshire by-election. (source).
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ Although several sources claim Claire Ward was the youngest MP during this period, she was 50 days older than Chris Leslie.
  21. ^ Parliament.UK – House of Lords FAQS – Membership and principal office holders at parliament.uk

References[edit]