The Conservative Association at the University of Sheffield has entered 15 candidates in the local elections this week – and the tree debate is a major policy.
Joe Busby, a 20-year-old second year politics student, is representing the Conservatives in the Nether Edge & Sharrow ward and said stopping tree felling is one of the party’s major policies on a local and national level.
He said: “It means so much to people and if local councillors are ignoring them, then they are not doing the right job.
“If people came to me and said these trees are an issue, I would happily take the issue to the council and talk to people about it.
“It will be a good experience and even if I don’t win I will learn a lot, but I don’t expect to win because I think the area has been red for some time.
“If I win I win, if I lose I lose. It will be a good experience either way.”
The young Mancunian said he thinks there will be Tory councillors in Sheffield before long, despite none of the current 84 councillors being from the party.
“I feel like the Conservatives are starting to win more and more northern seats as people see us as the party of ambition and people want these policies,” he said.
“I feel like people started to resonate with us after 2008, because they are becoming more and more ambitious and because they can see what you can achieve now through working hard and that is what people want,” he added.
Mr Busby used to support the Labour Party and was a Blair/Brownite, but after he volunteered one summer he said he experienced what infrastructure was when it is not properly managed and changed to the Tories.
Mr Busby went to a grammar school, like Labour’s leader Jeremy Corbyn who attended Adam’s Grammar School in Shropshire, and said: “One of Corbyn’s main policies was to shut them down, so that was more of a personal thing for me, but it mainly comes down to economic competencies.”
As a Tory member in a Labour voting area he said he has had some ‘dodgy experiences’.
He said: “On election night I got a few quite extreme threats when I was walking around with my blue rosette in the bar and things kicked off while I was sat with friends I had been campaigning with all day. It kind of got a bit nasty and we got quite a lot of abuse.”
“I don’t fear for my life when I’m walking around, but I don’t bring up politics for candour.”
To prepare for the local elections, Mr Busby said he has been knocking on many doors in his ward.
He said: “It would be great to show everyone that Conservatives are not just old and great to show people that there is a new generation of Conservatives who want to lead the country forward, to what they believe is the right path.”