Youngest ever local election candidate in UK?

Youngest ever local election candidate in UK?

A Trafford College student has been making history as one of the youngest candidates to stand in the local elections.

Thomas Maxwell was eight months past his 18th birthday when he was invited to represent the Conservatives in Bucklow St Martins – learning the campaign trail from Greater Manchester Mayoral candidate Laura Evans, and her husband Nathan, the leader of the Tory Party in Trafford.

Thomas attended the Conservative Conference in Manchester in 2019 after joining the party the year previously, and last Christmas received a video message from the Prime Minister Boris Johnson that he watched with his gran in the Wirral.

Thomas said: “I met Laura through the Party, she invited me to campaign with her and I really enjoyed it. It made me happy finding out about people’s concerns and making a difference to someone’s life. The process of standing as a candidate is a fantastic experience.”

Thomas moved to Altrincham to study BTEC Business at Trafford College and has been applying lessons from his course as well as skills from his part-time job working for a digital transformation consultancy.

He added: “A lot of campaigning has been over social media over the last 12 months, so I’ve been reaching out to residents through online surveys and reporting concerns, like potholes and fly tipping.

“I’ve used a lot of what I’ve learned in College about gaining attention through what I write with the use of snappy headlines and by applying the ‘so what’ effect. I always do my College work when I come in, then my part time job, and do my campaigning mostly in the evenings and at weekends.

“I was brought up by my grandparents, so while some people my age may have been playing video games, I was spending my time with them, reading newspapers and watching BBC Parliament, so I’ve always had that interest in politics.”

After qualifying, Thomas plans to go on to university and set up his own business or consultancy as well as pursue a career in politics.

Thomas’ Business tutor at Trafford College, Julie Pluples, said: “Thomas is very organised and a dedicated student, with excellent communication skills. He is a good listener and is respectful of other people’s views and opinions. He welcomes constructive criticism and is confident in his own abilities. He is very driven and sets himself high expectations, therefore trying to achieve the best.

“Thomas really enjoys taking part in debates and he possesses the qualities to be an excellent representative of the Conservative Party. I believe he will be very successful in this role and wish him every success in his political roles in the future.”

Thomas Maxwell came second for the Conservative Party in the local elections for Bucklow St Martins, with Labour holding the seat with 1244 votes, according to Trafford Council's website.