Steerpike Steerpike

Five of the worst Mhairi Black moments

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Another one bites the dust. Mhairi Black today becomes the sixth SNP MP to announce she is standing down at the next election. It’s a rather big deal given Black is the Westminster group’s deputy leader. She famously pushed Labour’s Douglas Alexander out of his seat at only 20 years of age, with her entry to parliament symbolising the party’s landslide victory in 2015. 

Black follows in the footsteps of former Westminster group leader Ian Blackford, onetime party treasurer Douglas Chapman, Peter Grant, Angela Crawley and Stewart Hosie in quitting the Commons. Currently Mr S calculates that 13 per cent of the SNP group will not be standing as MPs in 2024. The party appears to be afflicted by an ever-growing exodus; we can only wonder why… 

Black’s statement today paints a picture of a woman keen to avoid the ‘toxic’ Westminster culture and instead settle down into ‘married life’. But the youngest MP for over 350 years managed to cause quite a stir during her time in the Commons, so let us not forget some of her high points in office:

1. Breaking her own government’s drinking rules

As lockdown drew to a close, the Scottish government’s draconian rules did not. Much to the frustration of train passengers, the Covid-era ban on booze consumption was extended even after restrictions eased off. One young politician clearly didn’t think much of this either. Mhairi Black was caught on camera swilling Tennent’s lager in full view of her train carriage in April 2022. Talk about shameless. Rules for thee, but not for me…

2. …And breaking parliamentary records

In 2018, Black broke a parliamentary record – she was the first MP to use the ‘c-word’ in a speech. Before launching into examples of the shocking misogynistic abuse she received online, Black warned her fellow parliamentarians that ‘some folk will be uncomfortable with the graphic language I’m about to use’.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles


Written by

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

Topics in this article


Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in