A 19-year-old politics student has been chosen as Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for the Skipton and Ripon constituency.

Claire Hazelgrove was selected by secret ballot from a shortlist of applicants at a meeting of party members in Skipton.

The University of York student impressed members with her grasp of key issues facing voters, particularly those who will be voting for the first time at the next general election.

Claire said: "A big part of my appeal as a candidate is that I understand the pressures that young people face today and can help to engage them in politics as an individual they can relate to."

She decided to stand after working for former international development minister Sally Keeble for two years.

"I have done constituency work, been to surgeries and worked in Parliament. I know what the job entails," she said.

Labour increased its share of the vote at the 2005 election and a recent poll of readers on the Craven Herald website put the party on 34 per cent of the vote - well ahead of the Liberal Democrats and not far behind the Conservatives, who currently hold the seat.

Claire, who is from Northamptonshire, said: "The Lib-Dem vote is crumbling all round the country and I will work hard to replace them as the primary challenger and take on the Tories.

"It's time for a new type of politics - fresh faces, fresh methods and fresh ideas."

Asked about her chances at the next general election, she said: "I will do as much as I can - anything is possible in politics."

Claire is not the youngest Parliamentary candidate - Emily Benn, 18, the grand-daughter of Tony Benn and niece of Hilary Benn, will stand for Labour in East Worthing and Shoreham.