Conservative Diary

Local government

24 Apr 2007 14:00:26

First crop of under-21s standing in local elections

Article in Bristol's Evening Post about an 18year old Tory candidate (thanks to Nick Webb for the heads-up):

Chris_woods_2"He is barely old enough to vote - but 18-year-old Chris Woods is hoping he will become the area's youngest councillor.The teenager from Yate has been selected as a Conservative candidate for the Patchway seat in the South Gloucestershire Council election. Recent figures show the average age of a local councillor in the UK is 57. Chris, a healthcare assistant at Frenchay Hospital, is hoping to inject some youth on to the council. He is taking advantage in a recent change in the law, which lowered the minimum age of candidates from 21 to 18. With statistics showing that more young people vote in reality show phone-ins than elections, Chris is hoping he can inspire more youngsters to get into politics."

Update: There's a lot of press coverage of other young candidates such as Katie-Jo in Bristol (Burton Mail and The Post and Times):

Katiejo_thomas "Katie-jo Thomas, aged 19, of Ashbourne Road will stand in the local elections on May 3.The former Thomas Alleyne's student explained why she decided to enter a world that is traditionally only inhabited by the older generation. "It wasn't politics that got me interested in standing for the council, it was a desire to do something for the town and the people who live here," she said."

...and Keely Rogers, the recently selected parliamentary candidate for Northfield (Birmingham Mail):

Update: The Birmingham Uni CF blog highlights another interesting young candidate - a lad who was 18 three days before nominations closed... called David Cameron!

"City parliamentary candidate Keely Rogers is the youngest woman selected by the Conservative Party to stand in the next General Election. The 25-year-old, who grew up in Bartley Green, will contest the Labour-held seat of Northfield when voters next decide who should run the country." The former Hillcrest schoolgirl admits she doesn't fit the traditional profile of a Tory candidate. She said: "If you consider the stereotypical view I couldn't be further away."

26 Jan 2007 10:06:04

Breaking the mould in Wales

Good article in the Western Mail today about a teenage Welsh lad from a Labour-voting family being co-opted as a Conservative on to a Community Council:

Wales_2"I suppose I first got interested in politics at the age of four or five, when my grandmother, who was a diehard Labour supporter, used to talk to me. As I got older I would have political discussions with my mother, who also supports Labour. My father is probably the least political person in the family, although I think he also votes Labour. My mother doesn't always agree with me, but she respects my point of view.

I've always been interested in history, and from my reading it always seemed the Conservatives were in the forefront. I'm a big fan of Winston Churchill, who was a great war leader and statesman. The more I read, the more I was drawn to the principles of the Conservative Party - freedom of enterprise, freedom of choice, and freedom of opportunity for all members of society, regardless of their background."

I can't say I share his enthusiasm for youth political issues like skate parks and lowering the voting age, but it is very encouraging that his Association has over 25 members under the age of 18.

This article times well with a CF action week in Wales. They are promoting a petition against NHS cuts as part of the "NHyeS" campaign, and hoping to pick up some members and help the forthcoming Assembly elections along the way.

Paul Rogers, North Wales Area Chairman for Conservative Future, told CF Diary:

"There is a strong link between Conservative Future and the Party in Wales and we are determined to do our part to ensure our assembly members are re-elected in May and that we deliver Conservative success.  Nick Bourne's group in the assembly has shown that we can deliver a stronger government for Wales than that of Rhodri Morgan and his Labour group and CF members can help make the difference in coming months"

If anyone would like to get involved with CF in Wales and help the assembly campaign please email Paul at walesnorth[AT]

25 Sep 2006 09:40:05

Alex Wilson: Why I became a Councillor

Awilson Alex is one of the youngest Councillors in the country, representing Blackheath Westcombe in Greenwich.

I’ve just put the phone down after talking to a senior council employee about the lack of window cleaners in Greenwich. I suppose that this would be a good introduction to the glamorous world of local politics. Be under no illusion, I had expected this though.

Firstly let me introduce myself, my name is Alex Wilson and at 23 and 3 months on polling day I am probably one of the younger Councillors out there. My seat is in Blackheath Westcombe ward which is part of Greenwich Council, I am also the Conservative Spokesman on Human Resources and Organisation Development for the Council, which I guess basically, means the Council’s Staff and their training. I was elected in May 2006 and so I was part of the many council seats that the Conservatives were able to win that night.

While Greenwich is still heavily Labour and the administration has been for over 35 years we now have a larger Conservative group than we have had since the 1980’s. This has helped in our abilities to call the Council to account over its actions.

Continue reading "Alex Wilson: Why I became a Councillor" »

1 Sep 2006 00:52:55

Tim Aker: Council Mentors

Tim2_1 Tim is standing for the CF Exec

If you’ve delivered leaflets in the rain, had some dog (or letter box) almost rip your fingers off and been shouted at by someone who tells you “they’re all the bloody same”, or if you want to run for council next year, then read on. 

I’ve been in politics now for a fair few years and, as we all do in CF, I’ve been through my share of campaigns.  But now as I come of age to qualify, legally, to run as a candidate in local elections…what do I do?  How do I go about it?  What do I do if I am elected?

Thankfully in Thurrock and Basildon there’s been an abundance of help and a self appointed mentor who I’m indebted to for so much information, help and support in my bid to get myself selected as a candidate for next year’s local elections.  It’s from that experience that if elected to the National Executive, I will look to get senior councillors appointed as mentors to CF members who wish to run for council.

Continue reading "Tim Aker: Council Mentors" »

15 Aug 2006 01:45:12

Andrew Stephenson: CF is revitalising local government

Andrew_stephenson2 Cllr Andrew Stephenson has been a Member of Macclesfield Borough Council since 2003 and is Chairman of Housing Policy Development

A revolution has been happening in local town halls across the length and breadth of the country.  As Conservatives have made electoral gains, a new generation of young councillors have also been elected.  I am happy to say that serving as a local Councillor is the best political decision I ever made, and I would encourage all ages to put their names forward, especially my own generation.  In fact this was answer I gave to a question at the Conservative Future Working Life Conference in August about which of my political experiences has been the most valuable.

Since my stint as National Deputy Chairman of CF back in 2001-2002, I have been elected as a local Councillor, served as Deputy Chairman (political) of my local Association for two years, been on a target seat campaign team, become an Area Officer for the Party, been elected an Association Chairman, and been accepted onto the approved candidates list (among other roles).   So why would I say serving as a local Councillor has been my most valuable political experience?

Probably the best reason is that Local Government is under-rated. There are over 21,000 elected Councillors serving on 410 local authorities in England and Wales. Local Councillors don’t get the same publicity as MP’s but together they represent over 50 million people and spend around £74 Billion pounds a year on local services.  Back in 2001 when I was heavily involved with CF, there were only about 10 Conservative Councillors under the age of 30, now there are over 200.

Continue reading "Andrew Stephenson: CF is revitalising local government" »