Youngest Female MP

1969: Devlin is youngest-ever woman MP.

A 21-year-old woman, Bernadette Devlin, has become Britain's youngest ever female MP and the third youngest MP ever.

Standing as an independent Unity candidate, Miss Devlin wrested the seat of Mid-Ulster in Northern Ireland from the Ulster Unionists.

In a straight fight she defeated Anna Forrest, the widow of the late MP George Forrest, by more than 4,000 votes.

At the last general election Mr Forrest had a majority of just over 2,500.
It was only Miss Devlin's second foray into politics after standing against Northern Ireland's agriculture minister, James Chichester-Clark, in February's Stormont elections.

She polled nearly 6,000 votes against Major Chichester-Clark's 9,000.

In Mid-Ulster Miss Devlin was helped by the constituency's natural Catholic majority of about 4,000 and the fact that Mrs Forrest did not campaign at all.
The young MP, a Catholic, has declared her sympathies with the IRA and her win has dismayed Northern Ireland's Protestant community.

However, the Queen's University psychology student has always said her approach is non-sectarian and she wants to promote unity among the people of Ireland.
A leading figure in the student civil rights movement, Miss Devlin said her political ambitions were only awakened last October after she took part in a march that was violently suppressed by the police.

After her victory, Miss Devlin who turns 22 next Wednesday, said she would raise issues concerning Ulster in the House of Commons.
"I was elected by the oppressed people of Ulster and I shall work for them," she said.

She did not yet know when she would take her seat in Westminster or where, as an independent, she would sit, Miss Devlin added.


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