Meet the oldest and youngest MPs now sitting in the Commons

There is now a 58-year age gap between the oldest and youngest MPs, as Britain’s first representative born in the 21st century is elected.

When Sir Roger Gale was first elected to parliament in 1983, Sam Carling – now MP for North West Cambridgeshire – would not be born for another 19 years.

Aged just 22, Mr Carling will now officially be the ‘Baby of the House’, having won his seat by a thin margin in Labour’s electoral landslide on Thursday.

The Cambridge graduate only sat his GCSEs in 2018 and is now – just six years later – North West Cambridgeshire’s first-ever Labour MP.

Originally from the North East of England, he has described himself as coming from “a totally apolitical family, in quite a deprived part of the North East”, before he moved to Cambridge to study natural sciences at the age of 18.

“I saw a lot of things getting worse around me,” he told the BBC. “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.”

His LinkedIn profile suggests that despite his young age, he is well qualified for the job, having bagged six A* grades in his A-levels.

Alongside his studies he has been a staff writer at the university’s newspaper, co-chair of the Cambridge University Labour Club and a city councillor for West Chesterton since May 2022.

His win in North West Cambridgeshire was unexpected, with him beating his veteran Tory opponent Shailesh Vara by just 39 votes.

He had been ushered in as Labour’s candidate as a second selection after the party’s first was ousted and his candidacy was met with ridicule online.

“Hi Sam, have you had a real job before?” One Twitter/X user asked. Another said: “Another one of Labour’s creche kiddies.”

Mr Carling beat veteran Conservative Shailesh Vara (PA)
Mr Carling beat veteran Conservative Shailesh Vara (PA)

Sharing some of the unsavoury posts, Mr Carling said: “I’m sometimes asked for my views on why we can’t get more young people to stand for office, with only 2 per cent of councillors under 30. See below a selection of the age-related tripe I have received in just the first two days of being a parliamentary candidate. That should explain it.”

However, the backlash did not deter him from winning the seat and declaring his victory as a “political earthquake”.

Upon his win, he encouraged more young people to run for office and said: “Then they will see themselves represented, both in Parliament and local councils. It will help tackle apathy.”

Some of his top campaign pledges were to bring public transport under local authority control and support the recruitment of more police officers.

By contrast, the oldest member of the house has plenty of experience in representing constituents, having been an MP since 1983.

Roger Gale, MP for North Thanet, has been sent demands for more than £90,000 by trophy hunters (PA)
Roger Gale, MP for North Thanet, has been sent demands for more than £90,000 by trophy hunters (PA)

Sir Roger Gale was elected as the first MP for the Herne Bay and Sandwich constituency after being the only person to ever be elected to the now defunct North Thanet constituency.

At 80, he has seen many changes in government and is older than the new father of the house, Sir Edward Leigh. Father of the house describes the longest continuously serving MP.

While he denied The Independent’s request for an interview he noted he was still “the youngest MP Herne Bay and Sandwich has ever had!”

Prior to his political career, he worked as a broadcaster at various radio stations from 1964 including pirate station Radio Caroline North which operated offshore.

He has had his fair share of controversies during his time in the Commons. He strongly opposed David Cameron’s introduction of same sex marriage in 2013, stating in parliament: “Marriage is the union between a man and a woman. It is Alice in Wonderland territory, Orwellian almost, for any government of any political persuasion to seek to come along and try to rewrite the lexicon. It will not do”.

Roger Gale speaks in the Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions (PA)
Roger Gale speaks in the Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions (PA)

His majority saw a decrease in the next election and took a further hit in Thursday’s vote.

Upon his re-election he told KentOnline: “There will be good people coming in and I reckon my job as a veteran is to try to answer questions and help them do the job for the people we represent.”

He also criticised Nigel Farage’s Reform UK party, saying he worried about “the rise of populism across Europe”.

He said: “There is no role for the Conservative Party pretending they are Reform-lite and veering off to the right.”

His top campaign pledges were to protect farmland from development and improve sewage systems.