Elections 2021: Ipswich Tory candidate, 18, takes Labour seat

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image copyrightNathan Wilson
image captionNathan Wilson is one of the youngest people to be elected as a councillor in the 2021 local elections

A teenage student is among the youngest winners of a seat in the current elections.

Student Nathan Wilson, 18, defeated the Labour incumbent in his home ward - Chantry in Ipswich.

His mother said he was once told by a teacher that he would not amount to very much.

Mr Wilson said his first priorities would be to deal with "damaging" potholes and county lines gangs.

He was selected as one of two Tory councillors to represent Ipswich's Chantry ward on Suffolk County Council.

The local Conservative Party said it was increasingly important to have young candidates standing.

"It's been a pretty intense month of campaigning," Mr Wilson said.

"It was a really, really positive experience. Almost every single door we knocked on said they would vote for us, even those who normally said they voted Labour."

He said he would try to tackle the issue of potholes first, as this was what residents had complained about most.

He also hoped to tackle county lines drug gangs encroaching his ward, by involving the local community more.

"I'm a youth myself and we need something for them. More jobs and more community-based projects that can keep people away or from returning to drug gangs," he said.

image copyrightNATHAN WILSON
image captionNathan Wilson and his mother, Lorraine Parkinson who said he had "come a long way"

Mr Wilson is studying history at the University of Suffolk and got involved in politics after a school teacher advised him to join a political party, which he did in 2019.

He lives in Chantry ward with his mother, Lorraine Parkinson, a mental health nurse at Ipswich Hospital.

'He's come a long way'

She was "thrilled and stunned" by her son's success, especially after he was told by a teacher once that he would not amount to much.

"He's really come a long way. He is very passionate and very people-driven. I don't mind what he does as long as he is happy," Ms Parkinson said.

Mr Wilson said juggling being a student with his political obligations would not be an issue.

"I've always been good with time-management. Balancing uni work with campaigning was intense, so I think I'll manage," he said.

His tip for other young people thinking about getting involved in politics was that "you need the confidence to be unconfident about it".

"When I first started knocking on front doors I was quite worried about it, but eventually you do learn from your mistakes, you get better at it and you end up winning," he added.

Of the 10,618 votes cast in Chantry, Mr Wilson was elected with 2,337 votes, alongside fellow Tory Nadia Cenci who obtained 2,895 ballots.

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