Daniel Dewhurst will spearhead the fight to get a Tory MP elected in Preston next year even though he’s never been old enough to vote.
The politics student has been elected as the new chairman of the city’s Conservative Association . . . and he’s only 20.
“Age wasn’t an issue at all in the appointment,” insisted Daniel, who has been a parish councillor in Grimsargh for the past two years. “They just looked at my ability.”
When the Tories were beaten into third place in Preston at the last General Election in 2010 Daniel was still at school.
Next spring he will lead the campaign to overturn a Labour majority of 7,700 and send a Conservative candidate to Parliament for the first time in 42 years.
It is a daunting task, but one which Daniel is looking forward to with relish.
“This will be my first general election as a voter,” he said. “I wasn’t old enough last time, although I’ve voted in local and Euro elections since I turned 18. It is something I would encourage all young people to do. In fact all people who are eligible should use their vote. It’s important.
“But before then we have to select a candidate in Preston and, although we are nearing the final stages of that, I hope to have some input into that appointment and then formulating our strategy for the election.”
Even at 20 Daniel is not the youngest Tory politician to emerge this year in Lancashire. That honour goes to Pendle Council’s Lyle Davy who became the youngest councillor in the UK when he was elected in May at the age of just 18. With echoes of a young William Hague addressing the Conservative Conference in 1977 at the age of just 16, Daniel is understandably a firm believer in the old maxim: “If you’re good enough, you’re old enough.”
He said his election symbolised “the start of a new direction taken by Conservatives in and around the Preston area who are looking to the future of local politics by encouraging young, innovative and energetic individuals to get involved.
“It is also fantastic to see young and aspiring politicians be entrusted with the responsibility to uphold a more representational voice in the grass-roots of British politics.
“My ambition is to be an MP myself one day. But that’s in the future - I need to get a lot more experience before I can think about that.”
Daniel went to school at St Cecilia’s in Longridge and Newman College in Preston. He is now at the University of Central Lancashire, trying to balance his final year studies with leading the Tories in the city.
The man he replaces as chairman, Coun Damien Moore, who is also Lancashire area chairman, said: “Daniel will be a real asset to the association and is proof that, as a party, we support young people taking up senior positions.”