A Daventry teenager has become one of the youngest councillors in the country after winning a by-election for the Conservative party.
Lauryn Harrington-Carter, aged 19, has been elected as the new ward member for Abbey North on Daventry District Council, and her victory on Thursday evening (October 24) is a gain for her party from Labour.
Lauryn, who has lived in the ward since she was four years old, won 376 votes compared to the 280 secured by Liberal Democrat candidate Alan Knape. Labour, who had previously held the seat before Aiden Ramsey’s resignation, scored 262 votes through Emily Carter but went from first to third in just over a year.
The result was ‘brilliant’ news for Lauryn, who missed out on becoming a councillor for the Brixworth ward in July when the Lib Dems snared the seat from the Conservatives for the first time in a by-election.
Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Lauryn said: “We had a good team behind us who worked well together. I ran in Brixworth when national politics was not behind us. I don’t really like the fact that national politics plays a part in local elections, because some people think we can do things about Brexit and sadly that’s not in our hands. But I think Boris being leader has restored some faith in the party.”
The teenager celebrated her win with some chicken nuggets and a short sleep, but plans to celebrate properly with friends this weekend.
After Mr Ramsey, she is the second successive councillor aged under 30 to be elected by the Abbey North ward, and she believes – but cannot yet prove – that she may even be the youngest current councillor in the country.
She said: “There was another councillor called Jake Cooper who won in Dudley last year who they reckoned was the youngest, and I’m a month younger than him so I may be the youngest in the country.
“I’m not your normal Conservative. I want to bring young people into politics because it is their future that we are discussing right now.
“We do have some younger councillors in Daventry, but I’m going to bring the average age of that chamber down massively.”
Among the local issues that Lauryn wants to tackle for Abbey North is the amount of ‘anti-social behaviour’ and improving local transport for residents.
Lauryn says that a work experience opportunity with Daventry MP Chris Heaton-Harris in 2017 was enough to make her feel that politics was the arena in which she belonged. And she says her ambitions don’t stop at becoming a councillor, as one day she hopes to be an MP.
She said: “I want to represent a big area, and I think this will give me the experience to show that I can do it regardless of my age. It’s a step by step process and I think last night was my first step.”
While the result brings the Conservative party back up to the 29 councillors it originally had – prior to the Brixworth by-election and the defection of Richard Micklewright to an independent – the result proved a sizeable dent in the Labour ranks who now only have four councillors.
Labour leader Wendy Randall said: “We had taken that seat from the Conservatives, so it is very disappointing. The turnout was low and the weather was poor.
“It does feel a bit muddled because the Conservatives lost a seat in July, but a lot has gone on in central government and with Brexit in the few months since then.
“When you visit the doorsteps you have people who will only vote Conservative, then you have some people who vote Conservative nationally but will vote for us locally, and then you just have people who tell us they don’t like Jeremy Corbyn. So it’s difficult to get a clear message at the moment.”