Pupil, 12, wants to run the country

Herald Series: Tara Paxton-Doggett with her letter from David Cameron's office Tara Paxton-Doggett with her letter from David Cameron's office

A DETERMINED 12-year-old schoolgirl wrote to the Prime Minister asking for tips on how to become leader of UK.

The advice Witney MP David Cameron gave her was to get involved in her local youth parliament.

Which is exactly what Tara Paxton-Doggett did.

The Didcot Girls’ School student, who lives in Roman Way, Wantage, has now been elected to the UK Youth Parliament.

She beat two other candidates to the South Oxfordshire role and will get to debate in the House of Commons later this year.

Tara, who lives with parents Paul and Katie and sisters, Georgia, 14, Juliet, eight, and Martha, six, said: “It is an honour to be elected to the UK Youth Parliament and I hope to change South Oxfordshire for the better.”

In her manifesto, Tara proposed that one per cent of business rates is put aside for young people in communities in which the firms are based.

Every child between eight and 18 at schools would be able to vote on what to spend it on. The cash would not just be given to the project with the most votes but divided between the projects based on their percentage of the vote.

With £36m collected annually in business rates in South Oxfordshire, that would mean £360,000 would be used for young people.

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As part of her campaign, Tara made a short film shown to all year groups at her school. She addressed her school assembly and discussed lowering the voting age to 16 with the school’s politics group. She also talked in schools.

Tara also got in touch with Wantage and Didcot MP Ed Vaizey, who has forwarded her idea to Secretary of State for Communities, Eric Pickles.

Headteacher Rachael Warwick said: “The whole school is delighted that Tara has been elected.

“Her campaign to enable young people to have a say in what they would like in their communities was impressive.

“I know Tara has been active campaigning on this issue and is in contact with both Ed Vaizey and David Cameron.

“I am sure she will achieve great things on behalf of young people in Oxfordshire.”

The other candidates for South Oxfordshire for the UK Youth Parliament were George Ginger, 17, from Marlow, and Zoe Adams, 15, also a pupil at Didcot Girls’ School.

Tara’s mother Katie said: “I am so proud. It’s exciting to see what she achieves.

“She is a very determined young woman.”

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