Council election 2014: Lib Dem graduate pledges to stand up for young people

Bradley Hillier-Smith. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Bradley Hillier-Smith. Picture: Nigel Sutton. - Credit: Nigel Sutton

University graduate Bradley Hillier-Smith has vowed to get young people’s voices heard in Camden if elected as a Liberal Democrat councillor.

The 22-year-old, who graduated from Queen Mary University of London with a 2:1 degree in history and politics last year, is standing as a candidate for Belsize ward in next month’s election.

After leaving university, Mr Hillier-Smith said a period of “introspection” helped him realise that, as a liberal, the Liberal Democrat Party was “ticking all the boxes”. He said engaging young people with politics is his most passionate cause.

“A big motivating factor [for standing as a councillor] was engaging young people in politics,” he said. “It’s what gets me out of bed in the morning. I think it’s a crying shame that such a small percentage of people get out and vote.

“Politics can ignore or worse misrepresent the views of young people so I think it’s really important to get their views heard. “If 100 per cent of young people voted I think we’d live in a more liberal, tolerant society. My unique selling point is that I’m campaigning for young people and I want young people’s voices to be heard in local politics.”

Mr Hillier-Smith splits his time between a flat in King’s Cross he shares with friends and his family home in King Henry’s Road, Primrose Hill. Since leaving university he has been working as a creative editor for Live Mag UK, a multimedia outlet for young people.

He said his three priorities as a Belsize councillor would be to reverse funding cuts to Belsize Community Library, find a permanent base for Abacus Belsize Primary free school and to develop programmes with youth project The Winch.

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Mr Hillier-Smith said he did not feel betrayed by his party’s broken 2010 election pledge to oppose a rise in university tuition fees.

He added: “As a general rule, I don’t agree with tuition fees. In 2010, the Lib Dems were the only party saying no to a rise in tuition fees. We lost that election.”