Election Diary: Schoolboy four days too young to stand

Warren Swan
Warren Swan

A Belfast teenager has failed to get his name onto ballot papers as a council candidate because he is just four days too young to stand for election — yet he will be able to vote next week.

UKIP member Warren Swan turned 18 on May 3, meaning that he is able to vote for his party in the European election.

Luke Marshall supporting NI21

Luke Marshall supporting NI21

However, electoral rules state that a candidate must be at least 18 on the day when nominations close — leaving him just four days short of the required age.

The Grosvenor Grammar School pupil — who had been selected by UKIP as a candidate in east Belfast — told the News Letter that he joined the anti-EU party a year ago.

The sixth form pupil, who is studying A Level politics, said that he had organised work experience with the Greens, but realised he “didn’t quite agree with them” before joining UKIP as he wasn’t attracted to the “mainstream parties”.

He said: “There was a letter sent out [to members] saying that if you can, we’d like you to stand, because they wanted as many candidates as possible. I decided I’d like to get involved.”

He said that most young people of his age are “politically apathetic” but claimed that UKIP was appealing to many of them after an initial reaction of “aren’t they that racist party from England?”.

UKIP MLA David McNarry said: “What makes this rule so unreasonable is that people who nominate candidates have also to be 18, but on election day - not nomination day. Surely there is an inconsistency there?

“We are all deeply disappointed that a rule like this can stop Warren standing.”

Marshalling support

Ulster and Ireland rugby star Luke Marshall has lent his support to his father, Richard Marshall, who is standing as an NI21 council candidate in Ballymena.

The centre posted this image on Twitter with the caption “Very proud to see my old man @RichardNI21 running for local council,good luck in the elections! #freshpolitics #NI21”

The new pro-Union party will today be the final party to launch its Euro manifesto.

Remember SF’s ‘IRA pedigree’: Allister

Voters should be aware of Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson’s “IRA pedigree”, TUV European election candidate Jim Allister has said.

The former MEP highlighted that the DUP had served alongside “bomber Anderson” on the Executive: “It is an apt time to remember the IRA pedigree of the Sinn Fein Euro candidate. Martina Anderson was jailed in 1986 for conspiring to cause explosions in a number of English seaside resorts. While in prison she married fellow IRA bomber Paul Kavanagh.

“She went on to serve as a junior minister in OFMdFM alongside Jonathan Bell – a role in which she had responsibility for victims issues.”

DUP: We’re not splitting the vote

A DUP minister has said there is no danger of splitting the unionist vote in a PR council election — despite party leader and First Minister Peter Robinson warning of the dangers of splitting the unionist vote in the PR European election.

Simon Hamilton was in Mid Ulster last week to campaign with DUP candidate Keith Buchanan, who is hoping to win a seat for the party in the Torrent area around Dungannon, where (before the boundary changes) there was just one unionist councillor, UUP man Kenneth Reid.

Mr Hamilton said: “I was very disappointed to read that some have been scaremongering about the DUP running in Torrent...there is no threat to the unionist seat in Torrent so long as unionists transfer down the ballot paper.”

Mr Hamilton added: “I want to see unionists working together.”