A University of Oxford graduate and parliament’s youngest MP has been criticised for not having enough real-world experience.

Keir Mather, 25, became the youngest MP and the “baby of the House” when he overturned a 20,137 majority in the Selby and Ainsty by election on Thursday (July 20).

Since Mr Mather’s victory, his experience has come under scrutiny, with the Conservative MP and minister for Veterans’ Affairs Johnny Mercer suggesting that his inclusion in the House of Commons would mean politics would be similar to The Inbetweeners movie.

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Oxford Mail: New Labour MP Keir MatherNew Labour MP Keir Mather (Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Mercer said: “I think this synthetic outrage, identikit Labour politician is the opposite of what people like me came into politics for.

“He’s been at Oxford University more than he’s had a job, right?

“So if you can really apply that to the empathy required to understand what it’s really like in this country at the moment, in terms of the cost of living and all these experiences of these people he’s trying to represent.

“Personally, I don’t think that is conducive to good electoral representation and I’m more than entitled to have that view.”

Oxford Mail: Veterans minister Johnny MercerVeterans minister Johnny Mercer

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer visited the pitch at Selby Town Football Club and when surrounded by the media, he hit back at Mr Mercer by telling the new MP: “There was some silly sod on the radio, on the television last night saying you were only 25.”

The comments were picked up by an ITV camera crew.

Mr Starmer is then heard saying: “But the answer is, you’re 25 and you’ve made history and he’s whatever age he is and he’ll soon be history.”

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The Inbetweeners, which aired in the late 2000s, follows four friends at school who end up in awkward and embarrassing situations as they try to enter adulthood.

The Labour peer Baroness Chapman of Darlington, who appeared alongside Mr Mercer on Sky, defended Mr Mather and described him as “very considered” and “intelligent”.

She said: “You’re entitled to have whatever view you like, but there is such a thing as being gracious in defeat Johnny, and you’re being disrespectful to the voters of Selby who’ve made a decision that you don’t happen to like.

“One of the good things about our parliament is that we have people entering parliament for the first time in their 20s but also in their 60s, from all kinds of backgrounds, and I think that’s a strength.”

Mr Mercer previously served as a British army officer between 2002 and 2013 and is Plymouth Moor View’s MP.

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About the author 

To sign up to Ed's weekly Politics newsletter, click here: www.oxfordmail.co.uk/newsletters/ 

Ed specialises in writing political stories for the Oxford Mail and The Oxford Times. 

He joined in the team in February 2023, after completing a History undergraduate degree at the University of York and studying for his NCTJ diploma in London.

Ed’s weekly politics newsletter is released every Saturday morning.