Meet the great-grandmother hoping to be elected to Parliament

Doris Osen is thought to be the oldest female candidate ever at the age of 87


Doris Osen, who claims to be the oldest female parliamentary candidate ever, has said her desire to “fix all that’s gone wrong with the country” is the driving force behind her tireless campaigning.

The 87-year-old great-grandmother is running again as an independent for the Ilford North seat held by Labour’s Wes Streeting. She won just 87 votes in the constituency in the 2015 election.

Citing social problems including illiteracy and NHS underfunding, the Redbridge resident and self-proclaimed socialist said she “just had to speak up” on behalf of her grandchildren.

Mrs Osen, a former teacher who has 10 grandchildren and one great-grandson, said: “Austerity will affect the young people and the poor. And when we get to 2020, people will be less happy with Theresa May than they are now.

“We’ve got problems with the NHS, and there are difficult Brexit negotiations to come. We just need to sort this country out.

“How can it be that the younger generation now leaves university with £30,000 or £50,000 debt? It used to be free, and now housing in London is so expensive. It’s just impossible to get on the housing ladder.

“I’m a socialist – I believe life should be as fair as possible.”

Mrs Osen, who goes to Bevis Marks Synagogue, said her views had gained a lot of traction with the people she has spoken to on the campaign trail so far.

Ilford North, which has one of the country’s largest Jewish electorates, was won by Labour in 2015, with Mr Streeting taking it from Conservative Lee Scott by a slim majority of just 589 votes.

Mrs Osen said she admires both Mr Streeting and Mr Scott, who is also Jewish and running for parliament again, but she would prefer Mr Streeting to win if she fails in her efforts.

But despite Mr Streeting’s slim majority, she is not worried her candidacy will attract too many votes away from him.

She said: “I like both candidates – they both campaign very well and work very hard. But I think I will take votes from both. My policies have a broad appeal.

"But I hope I win, of course. You never know.”

See all our Election 2017 coverage here

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