THREE Labour young guns stormed to victory in Leeds, helping ensure red remains the ruling colour in the council chamber.
Alice Smart, 21, becomes one of the youngest ever city councillors in Leeds, after her win in Armley.
She is joined by fellow newcomer Stuart McKenna, 28, who will represent the Garforth and Swillington ward. He will also join his mother Andrea McKenna and stepfather James McKenna in the council chamber. However the big winner of the day was Jonathan Pryor, 24, who snatched the Headingley ward from the Lib Dems.
He said his victory felt “a little bit other-worldly but amazing”.
“I think it just shows that Labour’s got the ideas to go forward and it also shows that the parties that the students used to vote for - like the Lib Dems - for everything they have done, people are coming back to Labour,” he said.
“I think young people’s issues are exactly the same as everyone else’s.
“We care about the NHS being privatised, we care about VAT being raised to 20 percent. A lot of the time with politics, they just don’t talk to young people and I think that’s something that the three of us can really do.”
Coun McKenna said: “People sometimes feel let down by politicians. But I don’t want anyone in Garforth and Swillington to be let down. People have issues and we have got to do the best for them.” Commenting on the surge in young councillors in Leeds, he joked: “I remember the Blair babes, I wonder if we are going to be the [Keith] Wakefield babies! I think seeing young people in politics will attract more young people.”
Coun Smart said: “It’s important to have young people on the council.
“There will be some people who will say ‘I don’t want a 21-year-old representing me’, but we need people from all walks of life and all ages representing people, just so people can see someone on the council who’s like them and shares their experiences and their issues.
“I have always been interested in politics and current affairs and what’s going on in the city around me.
“I am really looking forward to going out, talking to people and tackling the issues, and concentrating on being a good councillor.”