THE youngest member of Cheshire East Council said he has faced discrimination as a teenage councillor after being named the authority’s champion for young people.

Cllr James Barber was elected to serve the Broken Cross and Upton ward in Macclesfield following May’s election – aged just 18 years old.

The Labour councillor told Thursday’s full council meeting: “Since being elected I have witnessed first-hand the discrimination that young people face in a professional environment.

“I have been patronised, I have been seen as incapable of doing my job, too inexperienced to represent my community.

“I have been insulted with the words ‘kid’, ‘child’ and ‘too young to be a councillor’ – in some cases, unfortunately, by members in this room.

“At cabinet last week, a senior councillor said she would not be patronised by a ‘young man’ to my ward colleague [Cllr Rob Vernon] – and that is exactly why it is necessary to have this position.”

Meanwhile, Cllr Dorothy Flude, Labour member for Crewe South, will continue in her role as champion for mental health, while Cllr Stewart Gardiner, Conservative member for Knutsford, will continue in his role as champion for equality and diversity.

Cllr Suzie Akers Smith, independent member for Congleton West, was recently appointed as cycling and walking champion.