A CHARD teenager has announced he will be going head to head with Conservative MP Marcus Fysh at the next General Election.

Connor Payne launched his own political party at the start of the year, Somerset Together, and has been adding members and supporters.

But the 17 year-old's political ambitions had a modest beginning.

Connor said: "Me and my partner's mum were just talking and we are both quite political.

"We decided we wanted to set up something totally new, that is not based in Conservatism, it is not socialism, it is a new idea based in localism.

"I started the Facebook page and then it went from there. I just decided to see how it goes, and we have 250 likes so far."

After putting the name to a vote on social media, Connor and his team settled on Somerset Together, and have recently added paid membership.

"The average age of MPs is 60, and for councillors it is 50 - there is no young representation," said Connor.

"I want to encourage more young people to go out and vote.

"You also have to look at why someone who is 17 feels they have to do something like this.

"It is because no one older is doing anything, so I need to do things like this to try and get the younger voice across."

Connor also admitted that the move to start his own party is partly in response to the handling of Brexit.

After starting with hopes of getting town and district councillors in the group, Connor has now thrown his hat into the ring for MP.

He added: "I know I won't win, but I want to show them that there is this political force starting to rise up.

"It is different from Change UK and the Brexit Party. We have a new ideology.

"We are totally focused on local culture, local business, local history, and local economy.

"We want to adapt policy based on the values of these people."

Somerset Together has started with a base in Chard, but Connor plans to spread the message across the county.

He has also reached a number of high profile locals, with former mayor Cath Morrison recently taking up a seat as the chairman.

"Not many people have heard of us, but when they do listen they get really interested, said Connor.

"Buses are really important for us. We want to ask Buses of Somerset for a Sunday service, and talk to the council about a subsidy.

"Sometimes the number 99 bus and the number 30 come into Taunton and Chard at the same time. Why can't we spread them out so we have buses going more often?

"Parking is another big thing for us, and we have sent off a petition for Clarkes Close.

"I was talking to a gentleman on the end of the row and he had a picture where it would have been impossible for an emergency vehicle to get down there.

"There are people parking there just because they don't want to pay parking in town."

While still at school Connor signed up to be a member of the Conservative party, but has recently left.

He believes council tax can be cut by people taking on more responsibility for their communities, such at cutting local grass verges.

He said: "My nan has to pay an extra £14 on last year's bill. She is not getting a higher wage to pay that and people aren't getting a higher pension.

"Obviously we want to reduce council tax and put the precepts we get into the right places.

"We saw recently about the district council spending £60,000 on tablets.

"That is where they are putting our money? That could pay for two NHS nurses or a bus for half a year, but they spent it on disposable tablets.

"My beliefs now are that everything starts at home, and I think that is based in my upbringing.

"My mum brought me up to be very family-oriented."

For more information, visit Somerset Together on Facebook.