Turning 18 opens up a whole new world of possibilities. 

And for Kiera Godfrey, who turns 18 on December 11,  that means one major thing – she can vote in the following day’s election.

“I’m going to vote for the Lib Dems because I think they are the most competent to deal with our national and local issues,” she said. 

The teenager was one of a handful of students who got to meet Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson when she visited Hinchley Wood School in the hotly-contested Esher and Walton constituency on the first day of campaigning on November 6. 

Visiting the politics students in their classroom the politician left a mixed reaction.

“She has campaigned to be this new politician with new energy, but yet she does what they all do and speaks like a politician,” said 16-year-old Jess Higgins. 

“There is no way the Liberal Democrats are getting in here,” adds classmate Morgan Rush, 16. “This is a Tory seat area. And it’s been a Tory seat area for ages.”

The election on December 12 is being called a ‘Brexit election’ locally with Conservative Dominic Raab, foreign secretary and former secretary of state for exiting the European Union, trying to retain control. 

But the Lib Dems have made it a target seat with support for candidate Monica Harding shown by Jo Swinson visiting. 

Other candidates include Labour’s Peter Ashurst, Badger Baron for The Official Monster Raving Loony Party, Kylie Keens, Independent, and Kyle Taylor, Advance Together Candidate. 

Out of the 13 students who met the Lib Dem leader, 12 said they would have voted to remain in the 2016 EU Referendum with one choosing to leave. But asked how they would vote today, eight said remain, two to leave and three were not sure. 

“Right now we are in a political firestorm,” says Oliver Case, 16. “People are losing focus on local issues. They are more focused on the country as a whole. 

“We are the ones growing up. We are the ones going to be here for the next 70 years,” he adds.

The classmates are already showing strong views with Hollie Bolitho, 17, a member of and active campaigner for the Conservative party and Sophy Moore, 17, who supports Labour. 

“We have to get involved with politics because it’s so important these days,” says Sophy. 

And Hollie is already involved locally with the party and on a county-wide level. 

For Keira, who lives in the Kingston and Surbiton constituency being defended by Lib Dem Ed Davey, she is clear on who she is going to vote for. “The Lib Dems. I agree with their stance,” she says. 

And it’s not just at the school visited by the Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson where there is party support. 

At Esher Sixth Form College, where a hustings between Raab, Harding and Ashurst was held on Monday, November 25, first-time voter Ruslan Kim, 18, is looking forward to having his say at the polls in his constituency of Twickenham. 

He was one of the dozens to fill the lecture hall to hear what the three politicians had to say. 

“First of all I’m a remainer and I always wanted to remain. I live in a strong Lib Dem seat. I don’t want a Conservative government so I will vote for Lib Dems,” he said after the debate. 

And advice from the politicians themselves to the first time voters….

“Really look at the policies and see which ones speak to you,” says Mr Ashurst, standing for Labour. 

“Make up your own opinion and look at the policies that make your life better and vote for those,” he adds.

Mrs Harding for Lib Dems adds: “Think very carefully about what you want the future of this country to look like. Keep close to your values and match them with the party that most represents you.”

And from Mr Raab, Conservative: “I have got a really positive vision for this country. I’m just waiting to get it done.”

He listed wanting to create more jobs and homes adding: “We cannot do any of this if we are still trapped in the Groundhog Day of Brexit.”