‘My appointment is signal for change’ says councillor elected to Redenhall with Harleston authority at second attempt

Tom Howard, of Harleston. PICTURE: Mecha Morton
Tom Howard, of Harleston. PICTURE: Mecha Morton

A 21-year-old man, who failed to be co-opted on to his local council earlier this year, has been elected to it unopposed.

A by-election had been triggered in Harleston for two vacant positions for the town council.

My election to the council is a signal for change. Residents wanted an election, and people supported my campaign

Thomas Howard, Redenhall with Harleston Town Councillor

But as only one candidate, Thomas Howard, put themselves forward, he has been elected unopposed.

The other vacancy, which can now only be filled via an election, will be readvertised, a spokeswoman for South Norfolk Council said.

Mr Howard had an application to take up a vacant seat on the council turned down in April.

He told the Diss Express he felt he had been unsuccessful because of his age – a claim strongly denied by then chairman Barry Woods, who said the applications at the time were treated in “an unbiased, acceptance-at-face-value way”.

On his appointment, Mr Howard has pledged to reach out to young people – and said he will deliver for the entire community, regardless of age.

“Despite this defeat, I refused to back down,” he said.

“Since then, I became one of the youth officers for South Norfolk CLP and hosted an event for young people with guest speakers including the Shadow Chancellor.

“I have also been responsible for organising a petition against the University of East Anglia, which garnered over 1,500 signatures, including Clive Lewis and support from John McDonnell.

“I want to be clear and concise. Young people matter. We have a voice, and we have concerns.

“I want to reach out to young people, not ignore them and exclude them from our community. Enough is enough.

“My election to the council is a signal for change. Residents wanted an election, and people supported my campaign.

“I have a mandate, and I will deliver not just for a select few but for all of our community.”