ONE of Britain’s youngest-ever general election candidates will contest the Inverclyde seat in May.

Michael Burrows, a 17-year-old from Gourock, says he was inspired by last September’s referendum to join the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).

He voted for Scotland to stay part of the UK, but wants to see the UK leave Europe.

He said: “I view EU membership as a constraint on Inverclyde and the wider country, and will make my opposition clear throughout the campaign.” The former Gourock High and Clydeview Academy pupil, pictured, will reach the current UK general election voting age in March.

Currently studying social sciences at West College Scotland in Greenock, but with no particular career in mind at the moment, the UKIP man said it was ‘daunting’ at first to put himself forward as a candidate.

He said: “The referendum certainly helped to get me involved with politics.

“I joined UKIP in October because it stood out as a fresh face and will bring about proper change with the UK as an independent nation, like Canada or Switzerland.” He is highlighting the party’s policy on the NHS as an area which could attract support.

He said: “UKIP want to preserve and improve this vital service.

“I suffered from epilepsy until I was about 13-years-old, so I know first-hand the immense value of our health service.” A former goalkeeper with the Gourock YAC football club, Michael works part-time in a local cafe and says Inverclyde is an area close to his heart.

Michael, whose father Jeremy runs the ‘Inverclyde Now’ website, said: “I acknowledge I am very young for a candidate, but my experience in life has led me to a point where I feel ready to put myself forward as someone to represent Inverclyde with an honest and enthusiastic approach.

“As someone local to Inverclyde since birth, it is an area I will work for passionately if elected.

“I’m passionate about changing Inverclyde and Britain as a whole for the better, and believe UKIP is the party most suited to achieving my aims. Issues of employment, cost of living and energy prices are all important in the area, as well as regeneration.

“As the UKIP candidate I will put these and many other issues at the heart of my campaign.” Michael says UKIP’s Inverclyde membership is in double figures and, after emerging as the only local member who volunteered to stand in the election, he passed a ‘rigorous’ party assessment process for candidates.

UKIP received 433 votes at the 2010 general election in Inverclyde, dropping to 288 the following year on a reduced turnout at the by-election caused by the death of Labour MP David Cairns.