News

Sussex politics student selected to contest local constituency for Labour

Sussex politics student Solomon Curtis, who stood for election as an MP in the 2015 general election.

A University of Sussex politics student could become the country’s youngest MP after being selected to contest an East Sussex seat for Labour in next year’s general election.

Eighteen-year-old Solomon Curtis probably won’t have to choose between Parliament and his studies, however, as rural Wealden is a safe Conservative seat and the current MP, Charles Hendry, had a majority of more than 17,000 at the last election in 2010.

Recognising that his chances of victory don’t look too good, Solomon told his local newspaper: “I want to be an MP in the future so this will give me a lot of experience. I am looking forward to the next five months.”

Over that period Solomon, a first-year undergraduate on the BA in Politics, will be combining his studies with canvassing in and around Crowborough, Hailsham and Uckfield (the three main towns in the constituency) in the run-up to the election on 7 May. “I’ve tried to use weekends as much as possible for the campaign,” he says.

The would-be MP says that his degree has already taught him “a lot about issues in politics, and how policies really relate to the public”. He adds: “So far, I have had excellent tutors who have contributed a huge wealth of knowledge to my life.”

In his first term at Sussex, Solomon studied Contemporary Issues in Politics as well as Political Theory, but it is another module that he describes as “the most exciting” so far.

“The British Political History course has been really influential in shaping my campaign,” explains Solomon. “With the 2015 election 70 years on from the Attlee government of 1945 which led to the creation of the NHS, I am more keen than ever to re capture the mood of optimism, hope and aspiration.”

“He’s a very good student and talked about his candidacy in class,” says Lecturer in Politics Dr Emily Robinson, who taught the module on British Political History.

“We discussed internal selection processes within political parties,” Solomon recalls. “To have the experience of going through one at the very time we discussed it was fascinating and allowed me to bring a different dimension to the argument.”

Right now, he is feeling “very excited about being selected” and has assured the voters of Wealden that he will do his “very best”.

The teenager knows the area well as he comes from St Leonards in East Sussex and in April 2014 made an unsuccessful attempt to be chosen as the Labour candidate for Battle and Bexhill.

From 2012-13 he represented Hastings and Upper Rother as a Member of the Youth Parliament (MYP).

This role gave him a taste of the cut and thrust in the House of Commons in 2012 when he spoke during the Youth Parliament’s annual debate. Reflecting afterwards on the experience, the budding politician said: “To sit in the Commons, where some of the most incredible people started their political careers, is overwhelming.”

And now he has the chance to follow in their footsteps. Solomon is inviting any students who want to be part of his campaign team for Wealden to get in touch on Facebook, or to E curtis4wealden@gmail.com.

Back to news list


Posted on behalf of: Politics department
Last updated: Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Share: