Young MPs top the polls
TEENAGER James Cain has set his sights on becoming a future Government health secretary after being elected as North Staffordshire's latest youth MP.
The 16-year-old aspiring doctor, from Chesterton, will be cutting his political teeth by representing thousands of young people across Newcastle and the Moorlands.
And he is already drawing up a list of priorities for his two years in office.
"To say I feel chuffed at winning is an understatement," said James. "I've been involved in a lot of campaigning before this, so it was a natural step."
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James, who is studying GCSEs at St John Fisher Catholic College, in Newcastle, wants to see compulsory work experience brought back for 14 to 16-year-olds.
He said: "When I was canvassing, a lot of students also said they were concerned about car insurance premiums and the minimum wage. Those are issues I hope to take up as well."
James even set up his own mini-political party for the Youth Parliament elections. Called Team 2013, it fielded candidates in several seats.
The ballot results were announced on Friday night in a packed council chamber at Staffordshire County Council.
Altogether, five new Members of the Youth Parliament (MYPs) have been elected. Between them, they will represent 90,000 people, aged 11 to 18, across Staffordshire.
The other winners include 13-year-old Clarke Lear, from Cellarhead, who will serve as a roving MYP covering countywide issues. He will also act as James's right-hand man in Newcastle and the Moorlands.
Clarke, a student at Painsley Catholic College, in Cheadle, said: "I'm ecstatic. I didn't expect to get elected.
"During the campaign, I fell ill with bronchitis. It set me back for more than a week."
His top priority is to improve the quality of careers advice in schools.
"It will help the economy if more people know how to get the jobs," said Clarke.
Meanwhile, Matt Hall has been elected as the new youth MP for Stafford, Stone and South Staffordshire.
The 16-year-old Denstone College student, from Aston-by-Stone, said: "I'm hoping to develop a smart phone app for young people in Staffordshire. They can use it to find out what's going on."
The MYPs will be attending meetings at a local, regional and national level to raise issues affecting young people.
They will also launch campaigns, take part in a UK Youth Parliament event at the House of Commons, and deal with the concerns of individual constituents.
Across Staffordshire, 14,136 young people cast their votes – a 17.4 per cent turnout.
Newcastle and the Moorlands attracted the highest number of votes, with 4,861 youngsters using ballot boxes in schools, youth clubs and libraries.