Left to right: Peter McLaughlin, Hollie Wright, Sam Carling and Dan Kittmer are four of the seven current students standing for election to Cambridge City CouncilVarsity

Cambridge students will not only be voting in the local council elections held tomorrow (Thursday 5th May); some have decided to run for election themselves.

Seven current students are contesting seats on the Cambridge City Council: James Appiah (Conservative, Castle ward), Sam Carling (Labour, West Chesterton ward), Sam Hunt (Conservative, Market ward), Dan Kittmer (Greens, King’s Hedges ward), Peter McLaughlin (Liberal Democrats, Cherry Hinton ward), Eddie Wilkinson (Greens, Petersfield ward) and Hollie Wright (Labour, Market ward).

In the run-up to the election, our news team asked these students to tell us why they are standing and what they hope to achieve if elected to the council.

The Labour candidates, Sam Carling and Hollie Wright (who incidentally both study at Christ’s and have chaired Cambridge University Labour Club), both told us that they are committed to reducing inequality and poverty in Cambridge, increasing the representation of students and young people in local government, and making Cambridge a net-zero city by 2030.

Carling added that he wants to “help young people that study or grow up in Cambridge to afford to live here afterwards, should they choose to.”

Wright pledged to make Cambridge safer with “increased lighting provisions and safety networks” and tackle homelessness by “increas[ing] the council’s community grant scheme.”

Peter McLaughlin, standing for the Liberal Democrats, similarly emphasised his desire to combat Cambridge’s “major housing shortage” and “homelessness epidemic”, as well as the national cost-of-living crisis.

He also criticised the record of Cambridge City Council, which currently has a Labour majority; the Liberal Democrats are the main opposition party. Claiming that Cambridge has been “held back from its full potential by years of poor local government” and that the Labour-led council was incapable of “properly look[ing] after the tenants in its existing council housing”, he added that voting for the Liberal Democrats was essential for those wishing to voice their opposition to the current local government or the housing crisis.

One of the Green candidates, Dan Kittmer, also criticised Cambridge City Council, accusing it of having “worsened inequality in Cambridge” by pursuing an “endless growth agenda” that has also “put further pressure on the vulnerable River Cam.”

He stated that if elected, the Greens would act by “divesting Council funds, creating a clean air zone in the city and maximising the reach of sustainable housing retrofitting.” He also pledged to support “inclusive legislation, including a ban on conversion ‘therapy’ in Cambridge.”

Labour have held the majority of council seats in Cambridge since 2014 and are defending eight of the 14 seats up for election this year. Most of the rest of the Cambridge City Council seats are occupied by Liberal Democrats.


Mountain View

Cambridge student poses as Tory MP on Twitter

The Greens have two seats, while the Conservatives have had none since 2015, and did not release a manifesto for this year’s local elections.

The seats contested by Cambridge students in the elections are not all in Cambridge constituencies. Second-year student Alex Carter is standing as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Hutton South in the Brentwood Borough Council, Essex. Hutton South is considered a safe Conservative seat; Alex previously contested the same seat in the 2021 local elections but came third with 9% of the vote to the Conservative candidate’s 73%. He is nevertheless hoping for an upset tomorrow.

Polls for the local elections open tomorrow (05/05) at 7am and will close at 10pm.

James Appiah, Sam Hunt, Eddie Wilkinson and Alex Carter have been contacted for comment.

This article was updated at 11:39pm after being edited for clarification.