The Glasgow schoolgirl who became an overnight sensation as she blasted the Tory leadership candidates on live television was inspired by 16-year-old campaigner Greta Thunberg and other climate strikers around the world. 

Southsider Erin Goodheir Curtis – whose live contribution lit up the live BBC debate on Tuesday night – was unimpressed by a string of chuckles and “non-committal” statements on the environment from the hopefuls for Number 10 – Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid, Michael Gove and Rory Stewart. 

The impressive 15-year-old climate striker appeared on the programme to quiz the contenders on meeting a target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2025 – widely set by environmental campaigners. However, she articulately told all five men they did not come close to offering the “drastic change” needed to tackle the impending climate emergency. 

READ MORE: Erin from Glasgow for Prime Minister vote viewers after BBC debate

“Erin for prime minister” was soon trending on Twitter following the teen’s sparkling contribution, but while the activist says she’s not Glasgow’s Greta yet, she has used her new-found profile to again call for more pressure on those in power to answer to questions on the world’s most pressing emergency. 

Erin said: “Greta is very inspirational to all of us, she is a bit of an icon really. I can’t quite live up to that, but it is great to see countless people supporting me. 

“I was never expecting these men to be able to answer in a way that would have been satisfactory for me. 

“Bringing this up in the first place was to raise awareness of the environmental crisis. People view climate change as something that is going to happen down the line, it’s a problem for later on, so they don’t pay much attention to it. 

“But the things we are seeing, going on in other countries that don’t have the infrastructure to cope, show it is a problem for right now.”

Over here in the western world, because we are rich, we don’t see the effects, therefore it’s not seen as important.

“There are always going to be issues which are more immediate or pressing, like Brexit. But we won’t recognise climate change until it is way too late, and that is something we need to change.

“But these men in power and people in our governments refuse to acknowledge it in the way it needs to be and I wanted to put them in an uncomfortable situation live on television.”

Speaking during Tuesday’s debate, the 15-year-old asked the politicians whether they would promise to make the environment their top priority and to commit to net-zero carbon emissions by 2025. 

However, after nearly five minutes of discussions, Erin did not receive a single direct response, leading to a shake of the head and shocked facial expressions from the studio in Glasgow. 

She said: “I could see them, I could see their faces and hear them, and the things that I was hearing and seeing were not satisfactory.

“To be frank, they were very patronising. I don’t want to be patronised, I want to be listened to and for them to hear the concerns of me and other young people who are striking across the globe. 

“They may well have thought they were going to get an easy ride from me. But I certainly think if they thought they would get an easy ride because I am a young person, they were sorely mistaken. 

“Me and the countless other young people in this movement are not going to give up this easily, and we’re not going to be easily swayed. 

“They are not people who are fit to be governing, and they proved that last night when they couldn’t answer questions in a suitable way. 

“They wouldn’t even be able to tackle any of these issues – they are not competent enough.

“The Conservative leadership is so out of touch with the public, not just the youth,but with the concerns of everyday people. 

“If they have an understanding of what everyday life is like for real people, they have not demonstrated it. It proves the point that we need someone more capable.”

READ MORE: Erin from Glasgow stars with verdict on Tory hopefuls

Furthering the political cause is nothing new to the 15-year-old. A member of the Scottish Youth Climate Strike group and UK Student Network, Erin is also a volunteer with Scottish Action for Refugees and helps with Amnesty International at school. 

Now she is taking on the big guns in UK politics - rolling her eyes at Michael Gove and sighing at Boris Johnson, which led to a public swell of support for the schoolgirl to take a leading role in the country. But is Erin a figure we will see in politics someday soon? 

“I’ve always enjoyed shouting at people and being able to stand up for what I believe is right,” said Erin. 

“This has all been very overwhelming and surreal in a positive way. Politics has always been a big interest in my life, and there are other issues which have my attention – human rights, the refugee crisis, but I am mostly involved in the environmental movement. I just thought I couldn’t miss out on that. 

“From a young age that is how I was raised, and I was able to find my voice to do that. What I believe in has always been at the centre of everything I do and I can definitely see myself ending up in something political or activism-based. 

“I don’t have a definitive plan because I am 15, but I will find something that will be about standing up for what I believe in. That is what I do best, along with telling people when they are wrong, as everyone saw.”