Fife schoolboy to stand in council election

Daniel Penman
Daniel Penman

A Fife schoolboy is standing as a candidate in the local government elections in May, hoping to give a voice to the thousands of teenagers in the region.

Daniel Penman, who is 17 but will be 18 by the time polling day comes around on May 4, is currently head boy at St Andrew’s High School in Kirkcaldy and has a keen interest in politics.

He plans to stand as an independent candidate in the Kirkcaldy Central ward, and would be the youngest elected member in Scotland if he won.

“People may dismiss me as a teenager with no real experience, but the fact is, Fife has 63,000 residents aged 16-29 – 17 per cent of the area’s population – and I don’t believe this age group is well-represented on Fife Council.

“There are currently 77 councillors in Fife - one short, following the death of Kay Carrington – and the average age is about 61.

“It would be good to make the council a bit more balanced.”

For the first time, 16 and 17-year-olds will be allowed to vote in council elections, and Daniel is hoping for a good turnout from his peer group.

“I would urge every eligible teenager to vote. We’re the future of this area.

“But I would also encourage all other adults to turn out on the day. Too many people complain about the way things are run in Fife – this is their chance to do something about it.”

Despite his interest in politics, Daniel is not a member of any political party.

“Party politics shouldn’t come into at this level. In my opinion, all councillors should be independent.”

He passed five Highers last year, is currently working towards further exams, and has a place to study Law at the University of Edinburgh, beginning in September.

If elected in May, he will combine his studies with his council responsibilities.

Daniel has some inside knowledge on what being a councillor involves – his mum, Marie Penman, currently represents the Kirkcaldy East ward and will also be standing in May’s election.