Sam Carling: 22-year-old youngest MP in UK

A 22-year-old elected as an MP with a razor-thin majority has said he does not want his age to be the focus as he heads to Westminster.

Labour’s Sam Carling is likely to be the “baby of the House” – the unofficial title given to the youngest member of the House of Commons – after narrowly winning North West Cambridgeshire.

The Cambridge University science graduate student beat veteran Conservative MP Shailesh Vara by 39 votes to take the seat.

Mr Carling called his victory a “political earthquake”, and said he hoped more young people would stand for public office.

“Then they will see themselves represented, both in Parliament and local councils. It will help tackle apathy,” he said.

The previous “baby of the House” was Oxford University graduate and fellow Labour MP Keir Mather, who won the Selby and Ainsty by-election in 2023.”

Sam Carling hopes the Labour party can “engage more young people” in politics Mr Carling, who has been a councillor in Cambridge, said many voters were surprised to discover he was running for office, but that “people on the doorstep were very positive”.

“They said ‘That’s good, we need more young people’.

“There is a lot of abuse aimed at younger people online, but face-to-face, people are generally thrilled to find out.”

However, he doesn’t want his age to be a focus.

“I want us to get away from this strange mindset towards younger people’s age. As far as I’m concerned we’re just the same as anyone else. I just want to get on with the job.”

He only recently became interested in politics, saying he saw a connection between social and economic decline and “decisions made in Westminster”.

Mr Carling grew up in a rural town in the north-east of England, which he described as “a very deprived area”.

“I saw a lot of things getting worse around me. I was concerned about shops closing on local high streets that used to be a thriving hub and are basically now a wasteland.

“And the sixth form closed, but I didn’t make the connection to politics until later.”

In his constituency, largely based in the city of Peterborough, he said the new Labour government had “a whole host of issues to deal with – it’s a microcosm of the country”.

He wants his party to “get to grips with” a lack of dentists and NHS staff “who are dreadfully overworked”, as well as “fixing rural transport”.

Mr Carling said it would be “interesting to see” what his generation makes of a new era of politics.

“I think a lot of people have only ever been conscious of a Conservative government.

“I would argue we can make significant changes and offer a better alternative, and hopefully engage more young people in politics,” he added.

About Louise Parry, BBC News Peterborough

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