Teenager who moved to Mitcham from Pakistan two years ago will stand for Merton councillor
An 18-year-old student born in Pakistan is running as a Tory councillor in this year's council election.
Hamna Qureshi, an A-level student at St Mark's Church of England Academy, Mitcham, is launching an election campaign as she studies for her final exams.
She said: "I think it's important to get more young people into politics. They may have less experience but they can also bring more passion."
Miss Qureshi has lived in Mitcham for two years, after her family moved from Pakistan to join her father, who runs a food import business.
She said: "I already feel this is my country now. I want to serve my nation, the country where I live. My destiny has brought me here."
Struck by voter apathy after arriving in the UK, she jumped straight into politics and signed up to the Conservative party.
She said: "In Pakistan everybody votes, but here people are too busy with their own lives.
"I joined the Conservative party in 2012 because I agree with lots of policies, like immigration, safety issues and less paid jobs."
Benefits tourists are at the top of Hamna's list of things she'd like to see changed in her area.
She said: "It's OK to come here as a tourist but some people come over just to use the NHS and personally I think that's wrong."
She said her views were formed seeing Pakistani nationals return home boasting about what they managed to get out of the UK welfare system.
Should she win, Miss Qureshi hopes to balance her duties with studying politics and international relations at a London-based university.
Miss Qureshi is in the candidate pool but is yet to be allocated a ward to contest. The election will be held on 22 May.
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