This second year is running to be a Lib Dem MP
A ballsy Politics second year is vying to be your next MP – for the most hated party going.
Leo Evans joined the Liberal Democrats at the tender age of 16, and is now running as MP for Wavertree.
The 20 year old said he likes the “challenge” of running for the party who famously devastated students when they broke their tuition fee promise.
He told The Tab: “I’m not a Tory by any stretch of the imagination, and I don’t believe in Labour policies.
“The daggers I get from people sometimes walking around is amusing. But to be honest, I quite like the challenge.
“I know you’re going to have readers that see this and think ‘tuition fees – I don’t care what he has to say’. It’s an excuse for a lot of people.
“Even if you don’t trust me, if Lib Dem policies appeal to you then vote for them.”
Leo was attracted to the party because of the “freedom, liberty and all the airy fairy liberal stuff”, and said “the party is very upbeat at the moment, there’s a lot of optimism” – even though many polls place Lib Dems behind both UKIP and the Greens.
Leo was also keen to clear up any myths his party have become more Tory-aligned in their policies after the coalition.
He added: “We’re not the Tory party, we don’t hold Tory values. We are a very broad church, generally we are a centre ground party. We hold strictly Lib Dem values.
“We went into coalition to moderate the Tories. We’ve prevented them from being how they wanted to be, despite only being eight per cent of the MPs.
“Theresa May wanted it to be legal for the government to monitor e-mails and phonecalls – frankly terrifying. We blocked that. That’s Lib Dem ideology.”
Before long, the subject we all care about creeped into the conversation when we asked him straight up: “Will you fuck us over again?”
“When it comes to tuition fees, I will openly say we cocked up.
“In 2010, we won the student vote. But let’s be honest, this time round it’s not going to happen, because of the rhetoric around tuition fees.”
Leo continued: “The idea of making the pledge was totally not thought through. What we did do though, was try and make the system as fair as possible.
“Tories wanted to implement a system where we’d have to pay £16,000 to £20,000 in tuition fees. £9,000 is still a lot, but it’s a lot less than what it would have been under the Tory system.
“70 per cent of students will not pay back their full tuition fee. In many ways, it’s not a debt. We’ve made this as fair as possible.
“Now we will not be making anymore daft, ludicrous promises.”
After defending his party’s decision, he went on to criticise those of Labour – the party who will supposedly win the Liverpool vote.
He said: “Labour are pledging to put them down to £6,000, which is a totally defeatist policy.
“They’re keeping the same system but putting the fees down, which means the only people who benefit will be those who start in a graduate salary of £35,500 – which is city bankers and lawyers.
“Everyone else will pay the same amount, so it’s only benefiting the very rich.
“It’s a shame students aren’t voting for Lib Dems in the same way.
“At the end of the day, we are the party that puts forward equality and fairness in education, ensuring there are apprenticeships out there for everyone, grad opportunities.”
Leo was also keen to point out some plot holes within the Green manifesto, too: “There’s a likelihood they won’t have a single MP in the council, and that’s a fault of the voting system.
“But as a result, they’re able to say whatever they like and they won’t be followed through. But their manifesto is contradictory.
“The one that gets me is the one about the NHS. They want to stop cuts and they want to keep the NHS in public hands, but they also want to balance the NHS budget with the rest of the European Union, which would result in a £1.7million cut to the NHS.
“They can get away with saying that because they’re never going to be in a position where they have to put it into action.”
Not only studying at the University of Liverpool, but also a lifelong Liverpool FC fan, Leo feels strongly about the proposed legislation to reintroduce standing terraces at football games.
“After the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, standing areas were removed and all stadiums had to be seated stadiums.
“I really don’t feel comfortable with the idea they may be re-introduced. I’ve supported them my whole life, I’ve worked at the club as well, I really don’t like the idea.”
Leo is also an advocate of a higher number of female politicians in parliament.
“As a party, we don’t have as many women as we’d like to be involved. We need to encourage more women into politics as the portion of females in the House of Commons is so disheartening.
“The majority of the population is female, but a government full of old grey-haired white men doesn’t reflect this.
“On specific issues like abortion, when you have an old grey-haired white man saying women shouldn’t have the right to choose, you can’t help but think ‘how can you say that without the knowledge?’
“Issues like abortion are very strongly women’s issues, and should be debated by women as well. It’s really frustrating.
“Any women considering going into politics, go for it – put yourself forward.”
In spite of these encouraging words, Leo could not comment on the sanitary tax. He responded “I honestly don’t t know” when asked on the Lib Dem stance.
Leo is a true believer in the majority of Lib Dem policies, but he regrets his party has not proposed to scrap the bedroom tax in their manifesto.
We concluded our chat with the typical “Do you want to be Prime Minister?”.
“If I wanted to be Prime Minister I wouldn’t be a Lib Dem. I still have a year left of my degree, I’d like to continue working in politics but I don’t know in what capacity.”