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Last Updated: Friday, 2 March 2007, 10:41 GMT
Wales@Westminster newslog

The Wales@Westminster weblog, BBC Wales' Parliamentary correspondent David Cornock's diary on political life

Friday, 2 March

Why the young like politics

posted by David | 1041 BST |

MPs devote one day a year to discussing Welsh affairs, with this year's debate falling on St David's Day.

Some may think that in these days of devolution, the debate is a tokenistic patronising anachronism, but with an election to be fought in Wales shortly (a shock, I know, to 50% of you) the exchanges were lively enough.

The shadow Welsh secretary, Cheryl Gillan, used her speech to highlight the sort of young people joining today's Conservative Party.

"We are working for a better future for everyone," she said.

"As Chris Chapman, who at 19 is our youngest community councillor, in Rogerstone, put it: 'The more I read, the more I was drawn to the... Conservative Party - freedom of enterprise, freedom of choice, and freedom of opportunity for all members of society, regardless of their background.'

"That is the Conservative message," she said. "One of which I think that St David would have approved."

It's possible St David may not have approved of several entries in Mr Chapman's name on MySpace.com.

His MP Paul Flynn (Labour, Newport West) took up the story: "I urge the hon member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs Gillan) to read the MySpace contribution by Mr Chapman, as I did recently.

"Perhaps she could put it into her manifesto. One could not describe it in the House because almost every other word would be inappropriate in parliamentary language."

Mr Flynn added: "As the young man has been cited as typifying the brave new world that the Conservatives are offering, we should know a little more about him.

"He has been kind enough to inform us about himself on the splendid MySpace website. He is remarkably frank. He gives a potted history of his life.

"He states: 'I've evolved from a little whining pussy to a thrill-seeking wreckhead to a Conservative who still loves the wreck-ups'.

"He was asked, as part of the formula of the site, about what he had done in the past month. On 16 June 2006 he was asked whether he had taken drugs that month. He said yes.

"The next question was: 'Have you stolen anything this month?' and he said yes. He was asked about his ambitions in life, and he said his ambition was politics.

"Asked why he wanted to go into politics, he said that he wanted it for the power, the flash suits and the money. Here we have a young man who may well become a bit of a cult figure, or a hero."

Cult figure or not, Welsh Conservatives are now investigating Mr Chapman's alleged comments.

Perhaps they could find him a platform slot at the party's conference in Cardiff at the weekend.

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