Young politicians praise ‘fantastic’ increase in youth engagement

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SOME of the country’s youngest politicians are claiming that this month’s local election results show the biggest signs yet of a ‘youthquake’ in British politics, as major parties saw strong showings for candidates under the age of 25.

Jon-Connor Lyons became Manchester City Council’s youngest member on May 3, as he was elected to represent Piccadilly. He says that the increase in youth engagement has been noticeable.

Coun. Lyons, who is also an officer at the University of Salford Students’ Union, said: “Young people joining political parties, pressure groups and lobbying groups has been evident…in massive campaigns in city centres across the country, you see a much bigger, younger presence in the streets.

“Then you can see that with this round of local elections, lots of young people across the country getting elected; it’s fantastic.”

The 22-year-old predicted that more young people will get involved following the results, saying: “I think when other young people see this and they think ‘they’re the same age as me; they look like me, talk like me and they’re doing it, why can’t I?’

“I think they will get involved.”

The result in Manchester Piccadilly is just one example of young candidates’ success in the elections. Salford City Council also gained its youngest elected member in 19-year-old Laura Edwards, while other young candidates made strong showings at polling stations across the city.

20-year-old Lucas Webber, who stood for the Liberal Democrats in the Salford City ward of Kersal, said that he feels more young people want to speak up about issues that affect them.

Mr Webber said: “Manchester’s young people are deeply progressive, they have a strong bitterness towards austerity.

“Young people need innovation into Manchester’s future which means better schools, better jobs and more money being invested into services.”

For more information on how to become a local councillor, check out GOV.UK.

 

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