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Croydon Tories hope green youths will give reds the blues

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CROYDON Conservatives will field ten candidates under the age of 30 in next month's local elections.

The injection of youth will see seven candidates aged 24 or under stand – albeit largely in less-favoured Conservative wards.

Just two of the candidates – Mario Creatura, 27, parliamentary assistant to Gavin Barwell, and James Thompson, 23, the chairman of Croydon Conservative Future – are strong favourites to win their seats in Coulsdon West and Coulsdon East respectively.

Mr Creatura believes the experience will put the candidates through their political paces and give them invaluable experience if they do wish to stand in future elections.

He said: "It would have been wrong to put people in specific seats. It is a very long and drawn-out process the way we select our candidates so the people picked are the best for the job."

The move to find fresh-faced candidates is a deliberate one on the Conservatives' part, with a number recruited externally.

Rosina St James told the Advertiser in November she wanted to be Croydon's first female MP and she was headhunted by the Croydon Conservative Future group as a result of the article.

She is now running alongside Jonny Cope, 24, and Matt O'Flynn, 19, in South Norwood – a ward which had Tory seats as recently as 2010 but was won by Labour in that election.

Some of the candidates in the north of the borough, many of whom are already working in jobs outside the political sphere, realise there is little chance of reaching the town hall when the votes are counted on May 22.

Samir Dwesar, 24, running in West Thornton, is the great nephew of Croydon's first Asian councillor Amrit Devesar, although for an opposing party.

Mr Dwesar added: "I chose Conservative because Labour made a mess of the economy and are better for aspirational people.

"We may not win but if I can reduce [Labour's] majority and change some minds then who knows what might happen at the next election."

One candidate who may have to make his excuses and leave before the end of election night is student Ben Flook, 18, who is standing in Norbury while studying for his A levels at Wilson's School in Wallington.

He said: "I can balance my school work and the election. I want to show that young people can be interested in politics and I think it is important that we are."

Croydon Tories hope green youths will give reds the blues


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