The Conservatives have chosen a 20-year-old politics and international relations student to stand in the East Brighton by-election.
The Tory candidate is a second-year undergraduate at Sussex University who describes himself as a compassionate Conservative.
He hopes to win the Brighton and Hove City Council seat vacated by Lloyd Russell-Moyle who resigned just after Christmas.
Mr Russell-Moyle became a Labour MP after wresting Brighton Kemptown from the Conservatives at the general election last June.
He became a councillor as recently as August 2016, winning one of the three East Brighton seats after the resignation of Maggie Barradell to care for her elderly mother.
Mr Wilson said that although East Brighton was regarded as a safe Labour ward, he was aware that former Conservative council leader Mary Mears had once represented Whitehawk on Brighton Borough Council.
Councillor Mears, who now represents the Rottingdean Coastal Ward and chairs the Brighton Kemptown Conservatives, was inspiring Mr Wilson in his campaign, he said.
On his campaign website Mr Wilson, who turns 21 in three weeks’ time, said: “The upcoming by-election is of the upmost importance in creating real change within the ward of East Brighton.
“As a fresh face with fresh ideas I firmly believe that, despite being relatively young, my experiences so far can be put to good use if elected.
“This is what you’ll get from me: someone who is a compassionate Conservatives, someone who cares about the lives of others, ensuring that all voices, whether or not they challenge my own views, are heard – and that communication between our community and me, as your prospective representative, is not only maintained but something we can be proud of.
“Something I’ll always be proud of and will always be the topic of conversation is my product design year 13 project.
“I chose to research and develop a product for the disabled, specifically for those who suffer from muscular dystrophy (MD) and similar illnesses.
“I decided this after seeing an elderly gentleman take minutes trying to get out of his car and into his wheelchair.
“I want to make a difference. As a society we shouldn’t make the lives of those who struggle even harder.
“In fact we should actively do our best to help those who are in a lesser position than ourselves. A true Conservative is a compassionate Conservative.
“When I moved into Brighton, I was unable to get halls of residency which meant I had to go into the private market – and to say I was shocked with what I saw was an understatement.
“My house had mould, holes in the wall, damp and even animal infestations.
“This should not be acceptable (but) sadly this is too often the case within Brighton. Housing standards have slipped and it is only right that we only accept the best.
“I found out that what I expected from the city with recycling and environmental matters was to be met with disappointment.
“The environment around us is something which should take great pride in. We shouldn’t allow for so much of our rubbish to be left unrecycled.
“It is also important that we teach the next generation to care for the planet, so that they can set a standard for the generation that follows them.
“And finally, I truly believe that the Conservative Party is a party based on inclusivity. It doesn’t matter who you are (or) what you are, it is a party that works for everyone.”
He was also aware of the criticism directed at a previous young Conservative candidate in an East Brighton by-election – Joe Miller, who stood shortly after turning 18.
He has since been elected to one of the three Rottingdean Coastal seats and – now 23 – chairs the council’s Audit and Standards Committee.
Mr Wilson said that he wasn’t too young to go into politics, adding: “I want to work to improve the lives of people in East Brighton.”
With reference to being a compassionate Conservative, he said: “We’ve got to look after communities and we’ve got to look after the environment.
“We want to represent everyone, whether you’re on the left or the right.”
He criticised Momentum, the movement linked to the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, as lacking such a tolerant approach.
The by-election is due to take place on Thursday 8 February.
The other candidates include Nancy Platts for Labour, George Taylor for the Liberal Democrats and Ed Baker for the Greens.
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