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College student Katie to take on leader Mehboob; Tories unleash their own teen Iron Lady.

Byline: BARRY GIBSON

HER hero is former Iron lady Margaret Thatcher.

And the teenager is to challenge the most powerful politician in Huddersfield in next year's council elections in Kirklees.

Katie Frank, who turns 19 tomorrow, has been chosen as the Conservative candidate for Greenhead.

The Huddersfield New College student will try to unseat Labour council leader Clr Mehboob Khan in next May's vote.

She said: "I'm tremendously looking forward to taking on Clr Khan because I feel he has done a great deal wrong for the people of Kirklees as a whole."

The Lindley woman joined the Huddersfield branch of Conservative Future just three months ago.

"I feel incredibly lucky as a relatively new Conservative Party member to have this chance," she said.

But Miss Frank faces an uphill struggle to defeat Clr Khan, who held his seat in 2008 with a majority of 2,641 over the Conservatives.

"I reckon it will be a very difficult battle because it's a safe Labour seat but I will still try," she said.

"With enough hard work I can push up the number of Conservative votes."

Miss Frank, who lives at Ridge View Drive in Lindley, will campaign to save Huddersfield's green spaces.

She said: "I live next to Grimescar Meadow and I'm so against building on green belt land.

"In Greenhead ward, they are looking to build on Clayton Fields, which I think is appalling. Empty homes should be brought into use first."

On a national level, the teenager said she backed Prime Minister David Cameron's decision not to support a new European Union treaty.

"I think he made the right move because he has gained sovereignty and not given powers away to Europe."

Miss Frank has always been keen on current affairs.

She said yesterday: "I've always had an interest in politics and my friends sometimes say 'that's just Katie, there she goes again' when I talk about it.

"I think they view me as someone who's not to be messed with.

"But my friends are really happy for me that I have this chance and they know it could be a really big step in my career."

Miss Frank's political heroes include Margaret Thatcher - as played by Meryl Streep in the new film The Iron Lady, which will be released next month.

"It may sound stereotypical, but I admire Margaret Thatcher because she worked her way up to her position and she had a very motherly role," she said.

"She did what was right for the country and managed things the way a household would be managed.

"I also look up to the Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. It's totally amazing how much passion she has shown in such an awful country."

Miss Frank hopes to go on to study politics at university like her boyfriend, 19-year-old Daniel Lunness, of Beaumont Park.

The Lindley woman was not the only young person selected to fight the Kirklees elections by the Huddersfield Conservative Association.

Fellow Conservative Future member Mark Dodsworth, of Marsh, will contest Newsome next year.

The 21-year-old University of Huddersfield student will take on Clr Andrew Cooper, who leads the Greens on Kirklees.

And Highburton man Chris Meadows, 22, was chosen to contest the Dalton seat, which is currently held by Lib Dem Clr Rochelle Parchment.

Robert McGuin, who helped set up Huddersfield Conservative Future three years ago, welcomed the nominations.

"I am proud that we now have three of the five seats in the Huddersfield constituency taken up by young members," he said.

"I am very grateful to the Huddersfield Conservative Association for giving these three young people a chance to progress in politics and learn the trade of what it takes to become a councillor."

For more information on Huddersfield Conservative Future email robert.mcguin@hotmail.co.uk or call 07598 917 198.

CAPTION(S):

* STREEP ART: Meryl as Mrs T * RIVAL: Clr Mehboob Khan * TRUE BLUE: Katie Frank, Conservative candidate for Greenhead (
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Dec 15, 2011
Words:659
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