BUDDING young politicians are waiting with bated breath to find out if they have been elected to the Youth Parliament.

This year, 13 hopefuls, including the five from south and west of the county stood for election.

Youngsters, aged 11 to 18, cast votes at school polling booths to elect three representatives, plus deputies.

The candidates include: Imogen Barnard from the Woodroffe School Lyme Regis Cameron Dabbs, St Osmund’s Middle School, Dorchester Lloyd Hatton, All Saints School, Weymouth Ben Macklin, St Osmund’s School, Dorchester Oliver McGowen, Budmouth College, Weymouth.

Successful candidates will have opportunities throughout the year to meet with MPs and councillors to discuss issues and represent the voice of young people.

Lloyd Hatton launched what he hopes is the first step on a career in politics by standing for election.

The Year 11 pupil at All Saints is planning to study politics and history at university and knows that this opportunity will allow him to experience the cut and thrust of political debate.

He says he is determined to try his best to fight for the policies in his manifesto to show young people that politicians can keep their promises.

Lloyd, 15, said: “My first pledge is to vastly improve and develop the public transport service for young people. My second is to help encourage political awareness by helping young people to understand the problems that affect them and how they can help solve those problems. My final pledge is to help create grants and funding to bring exciting opportunities.

Jane Burnet, citizenship teacher at All Saints, said: “This is the fifth consecutive year that we have run the elections, but the first time we have had one of our own pupils standing as a candidate.

“Although the ballot was secret, an exit poll suggests Lloyd had a lot of home grown support and we just hope that he will have won enough votes in other schools to win a place in the Youth Parliament.”

Dorset County Council cabinet member for children’s services Toni Coombs said: “With three MYP members currently covering Dorset, the elections are a great way for young people to learn about, and be involved in, local issues and the way young people are involved in national issues.”

Winners will be announced at County Hall on February 9.