In the US, there are at least three parliamentarians (two Senators and one in the House of Representatives) who are 87 years old. Are there even older people who serve or served in such positions elsewhere in the world? What is the age record for parliamentarian?

  • 1
    Have a specific country in mind, or will any with an elected governing body count as a "Parliament"?
    – user29681
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 5:59
  • 1
    @Chipster: any country and elected body. I'm looking for the worldwide record, as far as that is knowable. (Aside: one of the three is also the longest currently serving [US] congressman; a list of the latter is rather easy to find.) Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 6:02
  • 2
    Got you. Just clarifying because to my American mind, when I think of "Parliament" I usually think of the UK. Just wanted to make sure this wasn't referring to that specifically.
    – user29681
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 6:03
  • 3
    It's worth noting that the Senate Parliamentarian is a specific position in the US Senate which serves to advise the Senate on the rules of the Senate. Because of this, a member of the Senate is typically called a congressperson or senator, not a parliamentarian. Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 19:02
  • 2
    @ElizaWilson Specifally, a non-Senator Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 19:25

5 Answers 5


I don't know if there are any older cases, but Strom Thurmond stepped down from the US Senate at age 100 years and 29 days, having served just short of 50 years as a Senator for South Carolina.

There are a couple of US Senators who lived longer lives than Thurmond, but neither of them were still serving at 100.

  • 6
    @mishan although not the longest-serving US senator! Senator Robert Byrd made it past 51 years before dying in office, and John Dingell was in Congress for 59 years before passing his seat to his wife.
    – G_B
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 21:14

Manny Shinwell at 101

After quite a long career in the House of Commons (UK) as a Labour MP from 1922 to 1924, and 1928 to 1970 (and an arrest for Red Clydeside agitation in 1919 in Glasgow!), he accepted a Life Peerage in 1970, serving in the House of Lords, until he was 101 years old in 1986, when he retired just weeks before his death that same year.

  • I hadn't considered life peers, but I suppose they qualify. Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 20:34
  • 2
    @Fizz Hereditary peers should also qualify, except for those who were removed from the Lords by the partial reforms that reduced their number.
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 21:09
  • 2
    I'm not unhappy with the principle of excluding un-elected parliamentarians, but Lord Shinwell had shown a consistent propensity to get elected in his earlier career so I'd argue he should count on that basis. But it's your question, your rules. I have no idea if any other Lords would exceed his record. His name just came to mind. Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 21:47
  • They probably didn't expect his Life Peerage to last so long!
    – Ángel
    Commented Nov 20, 2020 at 1:17

Rita Levi-Montalcini (103)

Scientist, Nobel prize laureate, appointed as Senator for Life in 2001 by the President of the Italian Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi. She died in 2012 at the age of 103.

  • 1
    Nice! If we're allowing un-elected parliamentarians, she must count. Commented Nov 19, 2020 at 12:12

If we're talking about history here, Samuel Young is an example in the UK:

The oldest serving MP whose exact dates are known was Samuel Young (1822–1918) who was MP for East Cavan from 1892 (when aged 70) until his death at the age of 96 years 63 days.2

If you'd rather stick to current members of parliament (though, after re-reading your question again before finally answering, it doesn't appear that you do want to stick to the present--I'll leave this part in anyway as it might be somewhat relevant), Wikipedia has a list of a few older members of the UK Parliament. This list includes Bill Cash--at the time of this writing--the current oldest member of the UK Parliament at the age of 79. So currently there aren't as many older members in the UK at the moment.

Moving to France, there are several members of their National Assembly in their 70s (mostly early-mid 70s), but there is one member over the age of 80, namely Bernard Brochand. He is currently 82.

Looking at a non-western country, I decided to look at India. It is harder to find the relative ages of all the members of Parliament (at least, in a moderately quick manner), but I was able to track down what I think is the oldest currently serving member of Parliament: Shafiqur Rahman Barq at 90 years old.

Similar situation in Japan: it is harder to find all their ages, but I think the oldest currently serving member is Bunmei Ibuki at the age of 82.

In South Africa, the oldest currently serving member appears to be Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who is 92.

As for the oldest person on record, I'm not really sure. Samuel Young (as I mentioned above) is a good candidate at 96. Also, Charles Pelham Villiers seems to tie this record (or maybe Young ties him, since Villiers was first).

Some other potential candidates can probably be in these articles about the Father of the House, the Dean of the House, and the Oldest Member--though I haven't looked thoroughly at them to see if any beat Young and Villiers' record.

  • 1
    England also has en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Knollys_(admiral) Who may have been older than Young, but whose birth date isn't know with accuracy
    – James K
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 7:09
  • Lords are also legislators. The oldest member of the House of Lords at present is Lord Christopher, who is 95. Lord Granville of Eye lived to two days past 100, remaining a member of the UK legislature.
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 21:06

From Rajya Sabha, India

Ram Boolchand Jethmalani probably was the oldest person to serve as a member of the Rajya Sabha, India. He served till his death at the age of 95 (actually just six days short of 96).

The earlier answer about Rishang Keishing was based on an old source, who retired at the age of 93.

From State Legislature

Velikkakathu Sankaran Achuthanandan is an Indian politician from Kerala. He is the MLA from Malampuzha, Kerala. As of writing this, he is 97 years old.

Note: I deleted this answer after there were answers with names of older persons. I have now decided to undelete it. It could serve as a reference.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .