Teenager elected to council while studying for politics A-level

The youngest ever elected political representative in Northern Ireland has told how his success came while studying for his politics A-Level.

Lewis Boyle, from Randalstown, was elected for the Alliance Party to Antrim and Newtownabbey Council at the age of 18.

He told the PA news agency that his exams begin next week.

He said: “I’ll be sitting business, history and politics. I’m hoping to go to Queen’s University to study politics, depending on how the grades go.”

The teenager said he first became interested in getting involved in politics at the last local government elections in 2019.

Lewis Boyle celebrates his election success with Alliance Party MLA John Blair (Alliance Party/PA)
Lewis Boyle celebrates his election success with Alliance Party MLA John Blair (Alliance Party/PA)

He said: “I always had a general interest in politics but that’s what started me off getting directly watching what was going on in political circles.

“The Alliance Party to me is the only progressive party in Northern Ireland, it brands itself as progressive and is actually progressive in its actions.

“It has been at the forefront of making change in Northern Ireland and that is something that I want to be a part of.”

Mr Lewis described how he was selected to fight the council seat.

“I had experience in interacting with the community. I had to pass an interview for the party and be approved by the association, so I wasn’t appointed, I was selected by the membership.

“I went through the selection process and was chosen as the candidate.

“It was daunting but I wasn’t scared, I looked forward to it, being out on the campaign trail, meeting people, going to the counts and all the activity.

“Ultimately it was rewarding.”

He was elected following what he described as a “nail-biting” count process.

He said: “I was third on first preferences; based on that we had an idea I was going to get in.

“But then it was tight between the TUV and us for a while, but eventually I pulled ahead at the end.

“It was nail-biting at times but ultimately a good result.”

The teenager will now juggle his university studies with his work as a sitting councillor.

He said: “Whatever is in the future is yet to be seen but I’m looking forward to working on the council.

“In Antrim and Newtownabbey we have had our best ever results in terms of seats.

“I would say Alliance is in for a very good election.”