UKIP’s candidate for Boston and Skegness is bidding to be one of the youngest ever MPs – and says he is not daunted by the task ahead.
Robin Hunter-Clarke, 22, was officially unveiled as the party’s General Election contender last Thursday after receiving support from members at a hustings at Batemans Brewery.
The current youngest MP – the ‘baby of the house’ – is Pamela Nash, Labour member for Airdrie and Shotts, who is 29. Mr Hunter-Clarke would be the youngest MP elected since 1969. No-one younger than 21 has been elected since the start of the 1800s.
Mr Hunter-Clarke has already been faced with being the youngest member of Skegness Town Council and Lincolnshire County Council and told The Standard: “Of course it’s nerve wracking but I’ve got used to it now. I’ve always been the youngest in every political situation.
“People have now realised that I am just as capable as anybody - regardless of age.
“People are always going on about getting young people into politics. Here I am and I am ready.”
He added: “You have to learn on the job. This is the next step. It’s a big challenge but I believe I can win this seat and I believe the people of Boston and Skegness want a local person.”
Robin was born at Pilgrim Hospital and attended Skegness Grammar School. He feels party members were keen to choose a local candidate, something he says the party is particularly keen on.
He explained: “You tend to find, particularly in key seats, that most candidates have a connection with the constituency and live in the constituency.
“For example the reason why Nigel (Farage) is not standing here is because he is from Kent. Otherwise he would probably have stood here.”
Former Tory minister – and party deputy chairman – Neil Hamilton pulled out of the race before the Batemans hustings event. Mr Hunter-Clarke said Hamilton ‘would have to answer that himself’ when asked by The Standard why he’d withdrawn.
Immigration is set to be a key issue for the election and Mr Hunter-Clarke stressed his party is not ‘racist’ – as some critics suggest – adding: “It is complete nonsense. All we want is an immigration system like they have in Australia. A points based system where you can choose the amount and quality of the people who come into the country. It is common sense not to have an open border to the EU.”
He added: “We want to put things right and bring about some control.”
When asked if migration controls could hit some firms in Boston, he replied: “I know a lot of people who can’t get work.”
The bookies make UKIP favourites to win in Boston and Skegness, one of the party’s key target seats.
Mr Hunter-Clarke added: “We are a serious political party and I believe we could hold the balance of power after the election and deliver a lot of our manifesto.”
He said party bosses would not enter into a coalition, preferring a ‘confidence and supply’ arrangement where it agrees to support a Government in exchange for an agreement over its priorities – such as a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU.
He dismissed as ‘complete nonsense’ the suggestion that UKIP’s desire to pull out of the EU could harm trade, saying there would be an agreement drawn up between Britain and the EU so businesses could continue.
He also stressed that UKIP does not want to privatise the NHS and says he supports the continued use of grammar schools for both towns.
He promised a ‘fully costed’ set of proposals will be announced by the party early next year in its manifesto.