Teen trio of Leeds political wannabes among country’s youngest local election candidates

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THREE Leeds 18 year-olds are among the youngest candidates in the country to stand for election to local government on May 22.

Edward Hardy, who turns 19 in August, is hoping to bag the Hyde Park and Headingley Leeds City Council seat. A-Level student Austen Thompson, who isn’t 19 until November, is running for the Middleton city council ward. And schoolgirl Jess Riley, who turns 19 in October, hopes to become the youngest person ever to win a place on Morley Town Council.

Jess, a student at Woodkirk Academy, wants to win the Woodkirk seat for Labour. The sixth-former said: “People say that young people aren’t interested in politics but I love it.

“It would be an honour to represent the area where I’ve grown up and I’d encourage anyone, young or old, to get more involved to find out what politics is all about.”

Austen, who is studying history, maths and English literature at Rodillian Academy in Lofthouse, is representing the Green Party in the Labour stronghold of Middleton. He said he was “proud” to stand in his own neighbourhood and to enable his party to field a candid’ate in each of the city’s 29 wards for the first time in its history. He said encouraging more young people to take an interest in politics would be an achievement in itself.

Conservative candidate Edward is currently a first-year undergraduate at Leeds University and he has previously served in the UK Youth Parliament and worked with London Mayor Boris Johnson. He said:“I believe it is very important to encourage young people to engage with politics and to make their views known.”

Other Leeds candidates aged under 21 who are running for city council seats are: Mary Rosamund Finch, 19, Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts (City & Hunslet); David Joyce, 20, Labour (Harewood) and Max Cussons, 19, Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts (Weetwood).


Edward Hardy will be lining up on May 22 against Labour’s sitting candidate Javaid Akhtar; Lib Dem contender Richard Andrews; Tanis Belsham-Wray from the Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts; Christopher Foren from the Greens and George Morley from UKIP,

Austen Thompson will be battling it out with Lib Dem Sadie Fisher; Labour’s Susan Groves; Conservative Barbara Harpham; Kevin Meeson from the Brit Dems Stop Immigration Leave EU party and Craig Sweaton from UKIP.

Jess Riley is hoping to secure one of two seats in Woodkirk ward. She will stand for election alongside fellow Labour candidate Mark Sewards, and Morley Borough Independents nominees Stephen Jones and Jim Aveyard.

Leeds Digital Hub, partnership between Yorkshire Post and Leeds Beckett University. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

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