A St Helens student and would-be councillor is hoping to become Europe’s youngest elected representative this May.
Nathan Rydings, who attends St Helens College, is set to stand for office in the local elections for Ukip and the party has high hopes for its young up-and-comer.
The 17-year-old politics student thinks it is high time for a shake-up of local politics by adding younger voices to council chambers.
He told the St Helens Reporter: “I’ve always been interested in politics. Whenever Question Time or Prime Minister’s questions came on TV I would want to watch, I just found it all fascinating, watching what was going on.
“As a result I have been following things and it has always been Labour dominated and I thought if other people can do it, why can’t I? I just plan to help people.”
Nathan’s route into politics has coincided with returning to his home town following a setback while pursuing his chosen career.
Before the rise of Ukip I don’t think I agreed with any of the mainstream parties and didn’t fit into a categoryWould-be Ukip councillor Nathan Rydings
Having enrolled in the army straight from school as a 16-year-old, the teenager suffered a back injury that jeopardised any further involvement in the armed forces.
Nathan is now a politics, law and history student at St Helens College and will, luckily for him, otherwise he would not be able to stand, turn 18 shortly before the elections.
In putting himself forward to the electorate he hopes other potential young candidates will follow his lead, sparking a political interest among fellow teenagers and young adults.
Nathan, who has been pencilled in to stand in the Wigan West ward, said: “Before the rise of Ukip I don’t think I agreed with any of the mainstream parties and didn’t fit into a category.
“When Ukip became more prominent and offered the referendum (on membership of the EU) I started to listen and although they were pretty much a one policy party then it has now grown and expanded into what it now is. It just appealed to me.
“We have a youth committee in Wigan that I’m a part of and we’ve got a mix of ages from 14 to 21 with a lot of members. A lot of them are interested in politics but don’t know a lot about it or the parties. But they have a real interest in what is going on around them and what should change.”
The borough’s Ukip ranks have recorded several second-place finishes in recent elections but have failed to secure a seat in the council chamber.