HOLYROOD’S youngest MSP has told how she is “pretty constantly” patronised by older politicians – but is still backing SNP plans to lower the age limit for election candidates.

Emma Roddick, 24, clinched a seat in the Scottish Parliament as one of the MSPs for the Highlands and Islands last May.

But she has admitted the experience has been tough at times, revealing that opposition members, as well as some from within her own party, regularly belittle her because of her age.

When asked whether she is patronised by colleagues, she told us: “Absolutely, pretty constantly. It ranges from ‘Emma won’t know about that’ to people genuinely saying out loud, ‘well, she’s too young’.

“It’s often opposition members but I’ve heard it from SNP members as well. It doesn’t happen so much in the chamber but I get it on Twitter, in meetings and in emails.

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“I was sitting with some members once at a social event after work who had been there for a while and one of them said, ‘you know, the problem with the new intake, they don’t know what it’s like to not win elections’. I just thought, I’m sitting right here!

“A lot of the time you wonder how much of it is normal. You can sort of find yourself second guessing whether you’re actually just being treated the same way as everyone else – but there have been times where other MSPs or MSP staff have pointed out just how patronising certain members are towards me.”

However, despite some negative experiences, Roddick (above) says she feels strongly that 16 and 17-year-olds should be allowed to run for election, which is a proposal that the Scottish Government plans to consult the public on later this year.

Currently, 16 and 17-year-olds are allowed to vote in elections in Scotland, as has been the case since the 2014 indyref, but they cannot stand for office. For Westminster elections, you have to wait until you are 18 to be a candidate or vote.

Roddick was one of the teenagers who was suddenly able to cast her ballot when the voting age was lowered eight years ago and she admits she was initially sceptical of the idea.

But she now feels it was a change for the better and, while she accepts being an election candidate is very different to voting, she said it makes sense for Scotland to take the next step and give teens the chance to run a campaign.

She added: “At the time [when the voting rules changed], I was in a real panic about it and I wasn’t sure if it was the right move.

“I took it so seriously. I went to the No shop and the Yes shop and after the referendum I went to a branch meetings just trying to figure out where I belonged.

“Looking back though, that’s what we wanted to happen. We wanted young people to be politically engaged and there are a lot of people in my age bracket who are now politically engaged – and I wonder if they would’ve been if we hadn’t involved them in that decision.

“Being an election candidate is a massive thing to think about, and to be able to put forward a coherent set of views and campaign requires skills you’re going to have to put some time into. But if someone manages to do it, I’d be quite happy if they manage to get into Parliament.

“There’s not really a downside for politics if you allow those people the opportunity.”

Critics of the proposal have suggested 16-year-olds do not have enough life experience to be politicians, pointing out that they can’t, for example, learn to drive or drink alcohol.

In an interview on GB News, chair of Conservative Young Women Ella Robertson McKay said: “We should be letting kids be kids, and then when they’ve got the life experience to come back and run for councillors or Holyrood, we should welcome them with open arms.”

Meanwhile, Daniel Grainger, chair of the Young Conservative Network, suggested having teenagers in government would lower the level of scrutiny “because you’re not going to have people with the experience to deal with the issues”.

Roddick finds it odd when people come out with a supposed criteria for being involved in politics.

“I suppose things like learning to drive are life experiences but not everyone is going to have them,” she said.

“I represent a lot of people in the Highlands and Islands who cannot drive because of disability. A lot of people choose not to drink or gamble. I always find it strange when someone presents a shopping list of things you should do before you’re able to make policy.

“If we just want people coming in off the back of a politics degree, it’s not going to be a very diverse chamber.

“I don’t think there’s any demographic that shouldn’t be in politics, but the problem comes when almost everyone in politics is of the same demographic, so I think it’s healthy when someone comes in who has grown up differently.

“We’re not even saying we’re going to put those people in the chamber – they still have to go through an election – but what we’re offering is the opportunity for them to have a platform.”