Debenham parish councillor Jack Abbott will be one of the youngest candidates at the next general election on May 7, 2015. Chosen to represent Labour in Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, he will challenge the incumbent Conservative MP Dr Dan Poulter.
Currently 23, Mr Abbott, who works in renewable energy, became one of Suffolk’s youngest parish councillors when he was co-opted onto Debenham council last March.
He also stood, unsuccessfully, as a Labour Co-operative candidate in last May’s Suffolk County Council elections.
He has lived in the local area for over 12 years, attending Debenham High School, and said his interest in politics was triggered while studying at Sheffield University. Nick Clegg was the local MP and backtracked on his pre-election pledge not to vote for higher tuition fees.
“I met some great people out campaigning in Sheffield and one particular person said to me ‘Stop moaning and start campaigning’,” Mr Abbott said.
While a national issue got him involved, it is local problems he plans to highlight, saying he wanted to “make a difference and give a voice to people who don’t have one.
“They want good local transport, good local schools, access to good local health care, and a lot of these issues are being ignored.”
Mr Abbott also said there was a “brain drain of young, talented people my age, who go away to university and don’t come back.” Part of that was due to a lack of graduate jobs and poor or expensive housing provision, issues facing everyone, but younger people were under-represented and Mr Abbott hopes to redress the balance.
“It will be a lot of hard work but I am looking forward to it and hope to get out and meet as many people as possible. I don’t think you can beat meeting people on the doorstep.”