Second year Politics student Claire Hazelgrove has asked students at the University of York to aid her in her campaign as Labour candidate for Skipton and Ripon.
Hazelgrove said: “It would be great to get as many people from York as possible helping out on my campaign. I’d love to see more young people out on the campaign trail and hopefully encourage more people to stand as well. It’s important in terms of making sure issues that affect students get addressed, and hopefully we can change the face of politics.”
Hazelgrove strongly objects to the fact that although 30% of the UK’s population is under 30 years old, only two active members of parliament are, and she intends to turn this around. For Hazelgrove, “you do have to be a woman and a young person to be truly representative of their opinions”, and she has called for active participation from her peers. At the moment “there is no-one to fight our corner,” she believes.
Hazelgrove is wasting no time trying to change this imbalance. In her own constituency of Skipton and Ripon there is currently a house pricing crisis causing difficulties for first time buyers. She explains that “there is a massive age gap in the housing market of 20 to 40 year olds who cannot get on the housing ladder” and she feels she is “the right person to deal with this situation, not some old politician who has been in the business longer than I have been alive”.
During a recent interview on the BBC Sunday Politics Show Hazelgrove felt under-appreciated as a real Labour candidate, saying the interviewer “continually asked me about age and experience”.
Hazelgrove is further pursuing her cause on a national level by establishing a relationship with Emily Benn, who beat her to the title of youngest ever parliamentary candidate. At just 18, Benn is taking A-levels and running for Labour in East Worthing and Shoreham. Together they are planning to promote young Labour, to both “raise awareness” and “strengthen” their individual campaigns.
Hazelgrove attests to the idea that fighting for her beliefs is not always an easy task. She said: “You do have to think about what you say, you realise that you can’t just say your opinions as you may have done. You have to go with the party”, and, like all those pursuing a political career, her priorities are constantly under scrutiny from the media and her constituents. But this does not lessen her passion about the opportunity of her position: “It gives me the chance to stand up for people, and that is what I want to do.”
Following a meeting with the Head of the Politics Department, Dr. Matravers, Hazelgrove has permission to take half a year out in order to fight the general election.
Hazelgrove says: “If anyone wants to get involved in my campaign, any help would be much appreciated.” Hazelgrove can be reached by email at [email protected]