YOUNG VOICES

Solomon Curtis: The 20-Year-Old Student Who Wants To Unseat Caroline Lucas for the Labour Party

It's the second time he's tried to become an MP.

09/05/2017 16:08 BST | Updated 09/06/2017 06:51 BST

The Labour Party has chosen a 20-year-old student to try and unseat Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas in the General Election

Solomon Curtis, a third year undergraduate at the University of Sussex, could become the new “baby of the House” if he manages to win over voters in the Green Party safe-seat of Brighton Pavilion

Despite being a toddler when Lucas began her political career, Curtis believes he is in with a “real shot” of becoming the constituency’s next MP.  

Solomon Curtis
Labour has chosen 20-year-old Solomon Curtis as the party candidate in Brighton Pavilion 

A member of Youth Parliament and a former vice-chair of the British Youth Council, the soon-to-be graduate says he realised at a young age he wanted to help people through politics. 

“I grew up in Sussex in the second-most deprived seaside town in the UK and I was very aware there was a culture of low aspirations,” he told HuffPost UK. 

“It wasn’t the usual thing to go to university or go into politics.  

“Inequality was a problem... it didn’t seem like life was very fair. I wanted to do something about it.”  

During the 2015 General Election, then 18-year-old Curtis ran an unsuccessful campaign to become a Labour MP in Wealden, a safe Tory seat.  

Bloomberg via Getty Images
The politics student will be going up against Caroline Lucas, Green Party co-leader 

But the experience has done nothing to deter the young man from his goal. 

“People want to see a different kind of policies,” he said. 

“Brighton Pavilion is one of the youngest constituencies in the UK so I think it’s particularly fitting to try and bring some fresh energy and ideas.” 

Likening himself to Charles Kennedy and Mhairi Black, who were elected at age 23 and 20 respectively, Curtis also thinks he is uniquely appealing to young people in the constituency. 

“I think its about being able to understand issues that in a way other MPs wouldn’t be able to,” he said.

“Having recently gone through being a student, I’m aware that tuition fees aren’t actually the be all and end of all of what students care about, though we are going to get rid of them when we get into power. 

Solomon Curtis
Curtis says people are ready for 'fresh ideas'

“What students are more worried about are their living costs,” he continued.

“I have seen dreadful statistics about the number of students who are going to sex work to be able to afford to study.” 

The Labour candidate has vowed to support a new financing scheme for students if he is elected. 

“One of the good things about the student finance scheme is that you get an extra weighting if you are studying in London,” he explained.

“But property prices in Brighton aren’t actually a lot different to areas of London.

“What I want to push for is a formula that calculates the average rental cost and then a proportionate student finance scheme based on how much it costs to rent in your area. So in places like Brighton you would get more and you would be closer to getting what you get in London.” 

“The response from students to my campaign has been fantastic,” he added. 

Research from campaign group Hope Not Hate found that students are set to be the most under-represented group in the General Election.

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