Student running for local council in Sheffield hopes to encourage more youth involvement in politics

A university student running as a Liberal Democrat candidate for the upcoming local council elections has said he wants more young people to do the same.

Alex Purvis, 21, is a Politics and International Relations student at the University of Sheffield in his final year of study. He is the Liberal Democrat candidate for Walkley, located in western Sheffield.

While he admitted to being just a paper candidate and so stands little chance of winning, Mr Purvis has taken this campaign seriously as he wanted an experience in standing for office and he is desperate to beat the Tories on 4 May.

“We were running a bit low on candidates and I thought by doing this I was just doing my bit. The only way that I could win is if Labour and the Greens don’t get their papers in,” Mr Purvis said.

With admirations for Paddy Ashdown and Charles Kennedy twinned with nearly three years of commitment to his party, Mr Purvis believes that running for Sheffield City Council while at University could kick-start a long-term Lib Dem career.

He said: “I thought it would be a really good experience to stand this time round and then in the future I can run for a seat that I can win.” Mr Purvis said, as he is even looking to run as early as next year, pending retirements.

Being a resident of the ward he is running in, Mr Purvis has a real passion for his patch and labelling it fondly as “proper Sheffield,” referring to its tightly knit community. However, the praise stopped there.

He said: “There is a problem with crime, burglaries, vandalism – stuff like that. You can feel a little unsafe.”

Mr Purvis believes that the reason behind such high crime numbers in Sheffield is down to the poor policing numbers and failed to recall the last time he saw a police officer around the city.

He also believes that the number of young people in local politics is too low and that with more youth involvement, more problems could be solved.

He said: “A lot of the problems that young people care about like getting on the housing ladder, climate change and public transport all come under local council. Not enough young people run and if you are interested in getting into politics then this is how you start, particularly with smaller parties like the Lib Dems or the Greens.”

Written by Rudy Blank-Brown

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