Paisley born in 1994 she was educated at Lourdes Secondary School, Glasgow, and the University of Glasgow, where she was awarded a first-class honours degree in Politics and Public Policy in June 2015.
Formerly a Labour Party supporter she said she was a “traditional socialist”, citing Tony Benn as her enduring political hero despite his opposition to Scottish independence.
A member of the Scottish National Party (SNP), she has been the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South since 2015.
Her defeat of Douglas Alexander, a Labour MP and Shadow Foreign Secretary, was unexpected and entirely due to the collapse in popularity of the Labour Party in Scotland.
Worked in a local chippie before entering politics.
Only a few days after her election to parliament, on 1 July 2015, it was announced that she had been appointed to the Work and Pensions Select Committee.
She made her maiden speech on 14 July 2015 and criticised the Tory government’s approach to unemployment and the growing need for food banks. She said: “Food banks are not part of the Welfare State. They are a symbol that the welfare state is failing.” She also took the government to task over cuts to housing benefit and State Pension Inequality (WASPI).
In a 2016 interview, while expressing concern about displays of arrogance and sexism towards her from other MPs, she labelled Westminster an “old boys club totally excluded from reality”.
And in 2017, she considered not standing for a second term expressing her frustration that: “so little gets done and it is a pain to travel to and from London every week”.
But despite her lack of enthusiasm she decided to stand again at the 2017 general election. And in a controversial campaign she was heckled by protestors who were angry at the decision of the SNP Government to close the sick children’s ward at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in her constituency.
But she was re-elected albeit with a much reduced majority. She stood again in the 2019 general election and was elected.
She is a strong critic of the Tory government’s rollout of Universal Credit, maintaining that delays in payments have serious negative effects on claimants and she is critical of how loans must be paid back later.
She said in Parliament that the government was like a: “pious loan shark except that instead of coming through your front door they are coming after your mental health, your physical well-being, your stability, your sense of security that is what the experience is for all of our constituents. Plunging people into debt and hunger causes anxiety and distress and the eviction of families from their homes does not incentivise work.’
21 Jul 2018 Black admits to health issues
Elected MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South in 2015, and re-elected in June 2017 she said that the long hours, frequent travelling and stress of three years working as Paisley’s MP had taken its toll on her health and well-being and the pressure of being a public figure was something she was still adjusting to.
She said: “It’s absolutely horrendous. I hate it. But I will strive to help the people in my community who have fallen through the cracks. I have no desire to be famous or to be the face of something, or have a profile. I just want to do a good job. If that means shining a spotlight on something then I’ll do it but I don’t want it shone on me. The whole reason I’m in this job is to try and help the people I feel weren’t getting enough help before we were elected.”
On issues affecting her own personal life, she said: ” it is not something I plan to open the door on. I’ll talk to anyone about politics or whatever but my life’s my business. I suppose it’s the kind of thing where one day, maybe, but right now I’m an MP.
You only need to know what my political opinions are, you don’t need to know about my personal life. Asked about her decision to “come out”, she replied “I’ve never been in”.
Comment: But even allowing for the impact of stress which might be attributed to the foregoing, which incidentally can be applied to to all Scottish MPs, her attendance record at parliament is poor.
And her staff back in Glasgow are clearly also adversely affected by the stress their MP suffers from since she/they seem incapable of providing an acceptable level of services to her/their constituents.
Her/their letter response rates to constituent requests for assistance has been measured at just 27% in contrast her colleague Ronnie Cowan (Inverclyde) who achieved an 81% response rate, Ian Blackford 80%, Michael Weir 77%, and so on.
It is also difficult to square her claims of stress etc against her presence in parliament. Her attendance record compares poorly when measured against her colleagues: (https://www.writetothem.com/stats/2015/mps) – (http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/mps.php)
Mhairi Black 57.7%
Ian Blackford 88.5%
Kirsty Blackman 92.3%
David Linden 91.0%
Stewart McDonald 80.8%
Joanna Cherry 89.7%
Deidre Brock 85.9%
Alan Brown 89.7%
18 Dec 2017: I need a life of my own
In an interview with the “Holyrood” magazine she said: “People need to recognise that I have a life of my own and I have responsibilities to the people in it.
They’ve looked after me and supported me because they recognise that I’m fighting a political battle that needs fought just now but no one has the energy to keep going forever.
I’m tired of sitting in constituency surgeries and despite what’s been said, I have been doing them from the very start having people coming to me with all these problems, and saying to me this is horrible, I can’t live, I can’t survive, it’s terrible, and I’m agreeing with them but when they ask me what I can do about it, I’m like, ‘well, we can raise it in parliament’.
I can press, I can twist arms but fundamentally, they [the UK Government] don’t need to give a thing.
21 Feb 2020: Black promotes the LBBTQ cause with a visit to a Primary School with drag act “Flowjob”
Flowjob was introduced to the children at Glencoats Primary in Paisley by Black, as “Flow” and read pupils a story in drag. After revelations in the press that Flojob’s social media profile contained sexually explicit material Education Secretary John Swinney said the “Flowjob” visit should not have happened.
Concerned parents and Renfrewshire Council apologised for the “concern the incident had caused”. Black took to social media later and accused concerned parents of “homophobia”.
25 Feb 2020: Black and an unfortunate incident at a Paisley primary school
What on earth is going on in my old home town of Paisley?
Mhairi Black, local MP and the SNP’s Scottish spokesperson at Westminster, is at the centre of an extraordinary row. She took a drag queen a character who travels under the name “Flowjob” apparently to read a story at a school in the town. Incredibly, the children were in Primary One, that is they are just starting out on the journey of life.
Those who have scrutinised Mr Flowjob’s online accounts tell me that they feature all manner of highly sexualised material. Saying that there is fury from parents and the wider community is putting it mildly. The Scottish media is reporting a tidal wave of outrage.
Black further inflamed the situation lashing out at critics, accusing them of homophobia.
The SNP’s top new spindoctor become embroiled after musing in a late-night tweet that he couldn’t see what the fuss is about when parents take their children to the pantomime featuring drag acts. Sometimes in Glasgow panto, I’m told, the Krankies are involved. Foote tweeted: “I could be wrong but do thousands of parents not voluntarily take their primary age kids along to see drag acts in pantomime every Christmas?” It turned out Foote could be wrong.
The following morning he clarified his position, stating: “In hindsight this tweet lacked the necessary qualification around some of the legitimate parental concerns about social media posts. I was attempting to make too broad a point.”
Attempting to make too broad a point. That’s one way of putting it. Recent convert to the cause of Scottish Independence and immediately appointed by Sturgeon, to the post of Party spin-doctor.
Foote, a former editor of The Daily Record, needs to watch out with the ever suspicious Nats. He is credited as one of the original authors of “The Vow” – the devolutionist pledge promising Scotland more powers to which Gordon Brown put his name in the final days of the 2014 referendum campaign when the Unionist side needed help.
The Vow was, it is said, literally drawn up on the back of a beermat by Foote and a Unionist associate. They then had it done up like a mock scroll and put on the front page of the tabloid Daily Record, to the fury of the Nats who saw it as a last minute attempt to hoodwink the voters.
This latest Paisley-rooted row follows the resignation of Gay MSP, Derek Mackay, over a sexting scandal. The disgraced Mackay used to run the local council and is MSP – still – for a seat which takes in part of Paisley.
What is happening to the place and its politicians? Paisley has actually been doing rather better with a long-running programme of regeneration. The SNP seems more interested in degeneration.
As a Paisley person, albeit one in exile, I am flabbergasted. One half of the town was until 2015 represented by the cerebral son of the manse Douglas Alexander for Labour. While I can imagine Douglas opting to take a Nobel Prize-winning economist in to tell Primary One pupils an improving story about income redistribution and regional policy, he would never for a second think it a remotely good idea to do what Black has done.
A seasoned observer of the Scottish scene says that Paisley’s other MSP George Adam, the straight-laced SNP chief whip (no jokes about whips here), will not like any of this either: “George is an old-fashioned guy who thinks the local electorate think the party should be getting on with the day job rather than the flowjob.”
But then perhaps some of the voters in my home town prefer the Black approach. Sufficient numbers of Paisley persons adore Black and they made her MP. The self-defined working class hero Black is actually from a nice part of Paisley, called Ralston, overlooking the golf course, incidentally. But this is rarely mentioned. (Iain Martin-reaction.life)
26 Feb 2022: Black under fire from feminist campaigners
Current 2004 GRA legislation requires a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria in order to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate. Labour MP Angela Eagle submitted a motion calling for the current act to be scrapped in favour of a self-identification system.
Speaking in a Commons debate Black pointed out that one to two per cent of the world’s population are born with sex characteristics that don’t match the binary of male and female. She Added: “People often think that we have male and female but the truth is that one to two percent of the global population is born intersex which means they represent characteristics of both sexes. To put that in perspective, one to two per cent of the population are ginger.
Also in the debate SNP MP Joanna Cherry said clashes over trans rights have become so toxic that MPs are “afraid” to debate the issue. she said: “I have received death and rape threats for raising concerns about calls for people to be able to obtain legal recognition more easily if they want to change gender and I have been vilified for speaking out about the impact reforms could have.
But if we lose clarity over what the words male and female mean it will make it more difficult to set and enforce clear and simple rules for female-only services and women’s sport. And women should not be expected to share their intimate spaces, such as public toilets, with men”. She added: “MPs are afraid to engage in this debate because of the potential backlash from campaigners”
But “For Women Scotland” blasted Black’s comments as ignorant and offensive and in a follow up Twitter post they said: “She recycles old, misinformed nonsense about “intersex” being as prevalent as red-heads. And she is clearly unaware that most people with differences in sex development (DSDs) are unambiguously male or female.