The Labour Party has chosen one of its youngest candidates – 21-year-old Luke Charters-Reid – to fight the Tory-held York Outer seat.
Regarded as one of Labour’s rising stars, Charters-Reid introduced Ed Miliband to the Labour Conference after Miliband won the leadership in 2010.
Charters-Reid lives in the constituency, in Osbaldwick, and will take on the incumbent, Julian Sturdy. ‘I went to school in Huntington, lived in Heworth, and also have lived in Strensall and Haxby,’ Charters-Reid said, showing impeccable local connections.
Growing up in a one-parent family – his mother was diagnosed with a neurological condition and needed major surgery – Charters-Reid had to go with her to claim housing benefit in York: ‘This experience taught me what it is really like for people who struggle on a day-to-day basis. The fact that it was my family that struggled meant that I can really relate to the hundreds of people I have spoken to on the doorstep.’
He took up political campaigning aged 14 and helped the York Outer Labour candidates in 2010 and 2015.
After leaving Huntington Comprehensive School in York, Charters-Reid continued his studies at Oxford, reading philosophy, politics and economics at Mansfield College, a college with more state school students than any other at Oxford – ‘Why I chose it’.
He was treasurer of Oxford University Labour Club and treasurer of York Young Labour Club.
He went on help in the then York Central MP Hugh Bayley’s office. He now works for his family’s chartered surveying company.
Of his political philosophy he says: ‘We need to expose the callous nature of Theresa May’s Tory government. From the bedroom tax, to her anti-immigrant vans, to a harsh Brexit that could strip workers of their vital rights.
‘In York Outer, it will be all about getting as many young people out on the doorstep as possible – as well as many of the members of York Labour that I have known for a decade.
‘One of my grandparents was a coal miner, the other worked in a bacon factory his whole life. Both make me proud to call myself a proud Northerner and a life-long Labour activist.’