Past and present Reading councillors stood as candidates for Reading constituencies in the 12 December 2019 general election. Former Katesgrove councillor Matt Rodda was re-elected as MP for Reading East. Three Reading councillors, Rachel Eden (Whitley ward, Labour), Meri O’Connell (Tilehurst ward, Liberal Democrat) and Jamie Whitham (Redlands ward, Green), stood in Reading West against Alok Sharma (Conservative), who retained his parliamentary seat.
Mayor of Reading and Church ward councillor Paul Woodward declared the result for Reading East at 3.45am on 13 December and this was followed about 40 minutes later by the declaration of the Reading West result by Chris Brooks, the returning officer.
All candidates at the count made speeches after the result announcement, but we decided to focus on the past and present Reading councillors who stood for election.
After thanking everyone involved in his campaign, he said:
…above all I would like to thank the public for giving me the huge privilege and opportunity of being once again elected as the MP for Reading East…
…In that campaign I made my views clear about the dangers of hard Brexit, the need to stop austerity and the need for urgent action to tackle the climate emergency.
I am proud to have been elected an MP on that basis and I will continue to campaign rigorously and vigorously on all those points in Parliament.
Three of the four candidates had stood for Reading West in the 2017 election. Rachel Eden stood in Wantage that year and was unsuccessful.
Rachel Eden, Labour and Co-operative Party
In her speech, she thanked her team and acknowleged her fellow candidates:
… Meri O’Connell and Jamie Whitham who have shown that it is possible to disagree courteously and with respect…
… I am so proud to have served as your candidate. To all of you who worked for this, remember this about this campaign: we stood on a positive, honest agenda and the things that we fought for don’t stop being important because of this result. We believe in investing in our communities, a fair and sensible resolution to Brexit and to really seriously tackle the climate emergency.
This is the world and the Reading West that we are seeking to build. This is the change that I want to be part of bringing. This change doesn’t happen solely because of one election, or not happen solely because of one election; it happens because, as we say in Whitley, we work all year, every year to make that happen…
Meri O’Connell, Liberal Democrat Party – To Stop Brexit
Meri O’ Connell spoke briefly predicting that she had no doubt that:
… we will be doing all this again very, very soon and I hope you’ll stand by me again.
Jamie Whitham, Green Party
Jamie Whitham thanked his team and voters and went on to say:
I’d like to remind all the newly elected MPs that it’s a climate emergency and they need to act now.
Back to work!
MPs are expected to return to the House of Commons next week. Reading Borough Council (RBC) has a policy committee meeting on Monday 16 December, the last before the Christmas break. All councillors will be present at the next RBC full council meeting on 28 January 2020.