Young graduate Ben Fearne is the hip and happening Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) for the Derbyshire Dales and he was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to chat to Liberal Youth about what it was like to be a 22 year old PPC.
Even though we spoke to him at 5:30 on a dull and dreary Tuesday afternoon Ben was full of beans and eager to tell us about how he got on the road to Westminster. He was first introduced to Liberal principles during a history lesson about Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal. After some research and bit of persuasion from his long-term Liberal Democrat Grandad Ben decided that he was never going to be a Tory, the Labour party was shambolic and that the liberal way, was the only way - hurrah!
Before he knew it he was fully involved in local party life. And, after seeing that Ben had more potential than you could shake a stick at his local party asked him to stand as a PPC. During this time, Ben was also studying English Language at the University of Manchester. He was an active member of their Liberal Youth society and campaigned for the Alternative Vote whilst working closely with MP John Leech.
In the summer of 2012 Ben had his assessment day to see if he could officially become a Lib Dem PPC. Although he said he was a little nervous, he emphaised that it was not as scary as a school exam because you were tested on things you were interested in - no algebra here! A week later he got awarded the highest pass mark and in January 2014 whizzed through his local party hustings. Ben was officially on the road to Westminster!
Since then, it has been a whirlwind of canvassing, appearances on local radio and campaigning for the local constituents. But for Ben, life isn’t all politics, politics politics as he manages to balance being a PPC with working full time at Derbyshire Country Council. Ben also plays football twice a week, is the number one fan of both Derby County football team and Doctor Who!
We finished our interview by asking the all-important question, “What piece of advice would you give young people interested in becoming a PPC?” Without pause for thought Ben enthusiastically declared, “GO FOR IT - young people have a great message to spread and if you are passionate about something, GET IT OUT THERE”. Ben, we couldn’t agree more!
So, whilst the Derbyshire Dales has been a safe Tory seat for donkey’s years, we have no doubt that Ben, with his “can do” attitude and passion for politics will make some significant gains. We wish you the best of luck!
If you are interested in becoming a PPC, or simply just want more information, please don’t hesitate to contact Liberal Youth’s full time member of staff, Olivia at [email protected]