George Taylor, 18yo Lib Dem candidate
HE STILL lives with his mother and has never paid a penny in tax – but this 18-year-old says he is the man to represent the voters of East Brighton.
George Taylor was not born at the time of Tony Blair’s 1997 electoral landslide and could not vote in the EU referendum, which he described as the most frustrating night of his life.
But spurred into action by what he perceives as crises in homelessness and housing, he is standing as the Liberal Democrat candidate in February’s city council by-election.
His political ambitions do not stop there.
He said: “My main goal is to become a councillor and then hopefully to become the MP for Brighton Kemptown and then you never know where life and politics can take you – especially in the Liberal Democrats.
“Nick Clegg inspired me to go into politics and he’s the guy he drew me into the Lib Dems, so I was extremely happy to see him get a knighthood.
“If that were to ever happen to me I’d hope it would be for my services to politics, not to one party, because I honestly hope to make the country a better place.”
He wants to start in Brighton and Hove. He said: “I think in Brighton we’ve got quite a few problems.
“Homelessness is the main one. Just on St James’s Street where The Argus is you can see so many homeless people, we need to find a solution.
“There’s also housing. In Brighton it’s just too expensive. The chances are I’d still be with my parents if I became an MP.
“And recycling. We don’t do food recycling and you can see on Facebook people don’t know what days their recycling is. If you could make it more clear, more people would recycle.”
What would he do, if he became not only the city council’s only elected Liberal Democrat but also its youngest elected official?
Mr Taylor said: “With all problems you’ve got to go and speak to professionals.
“I think current councillors could do that more often. Instead of sticking to party lines you could speak to people on the ground.
“Because they’re the ones who work with it and see it day in day out.”
Mr Taylor worked with other Lib Dem volunteers to collect more than 1,000 names on a petition calling on the council to honour its pledge for 40 per cent of new housing to be affordable.
He said: “That was trying to keep Labour to their own promise.
“If you can stick to one target you can improve on that to go further. We believe there should be more affordable housing. “
Mr Taylor has lived in his family home, off Queen’s Park, Brighton, all his life.
He attended Cardinal Newman School in Hove where he passed A-levels in politics and business this summer and now interns at Latest TV, earning £100 per month.
He briefly had a part time supermarket job but has never earned above the income tax threshold.
Mr Taylor said: “People have said ‘you’re too young, you don’t have life experience’.
“But why look at my physical age? My mental age and my work to make the city better should take priority.”
The by-election is necessary following the resignation of Councillor Lloyd Russell-Moyle, one of East Brighton’s three ward councillors.
In July of this year Mr Russell-Moyle stood and won the Brighton Kemptown seat in the Parliamentary election, unseating incumbent Tory Simon Kirby and winning a majority of close to 10,000 votes.
He promised while running for Parliament that should he win he would resign from the council, and last month resigned to give his successor time to contribute to February’s council budget debate.
The East Brighton by-election is expected to take place on February 8. Nancy Platts will represent Labour, Ed Baker the Greens and Conservative selection panels will be held this week.
Source: The Argus