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Labour announces candidate to fight next election in Reading West and Mid Berks

A former aide to Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, is to run for MP in West Berkshire.

Labour is the latest party to declare a candidate for the new parliamentary seat of Reading West and Mid Berkshire.

Olivia Bailey is to stand for Labour in the next general election in the new Reading West and Mid Berks seat
Olivia Bailey is to stand for Labour in the next general election in the new Reading West and Mid Berks seat

Olivia Bailey is the person to take on the fight for the seat in the much anticipated general election this year. No date has been set for that yet.

Ms Bailey was born in Reading; her dad was a local policeman and her mum taught in a secondary school nearby.

She has served as chair of the Labour Women’s Network, been deputy general secretary of the Fabian Society and worked as a senior aide to Mr Starmer.

After standing for Reading West in 2017 Ms Bailey adopted her sons and lives in the constituency with her partner.

“I’m so excited to put my name forward for selection in Reading West and Mid Berkshire,” she says.

“This wonderful constituency is my home, it is where my two boys go to school, and I am determined to fight hard for everyone who lives here.

“Over the last 13 years the Tories have trashed the economy, increased inequality, turned their back on integrity and put the Tory party before the country and its people.

“It was an honour to be the candidate in Reading West in 2017. We secured over 22,000 votes – the highest number of votes Labour has ever won in the area – and we came so close to beating Alok Sharma.

“I’m ready for this challenge. I’ve run national campaigns, led policy development in Keir Starmer’s top team and fought the barriers in my way as a gay woman and adoptive mum to my two wonderful boys.

“I’m angry that people here are paying the price of 13 years of Tory failure. It shouldn’t be this hard to make ends meet and it shouldn’t be this hard to access decent public services.

“I’m ready to fight for Reading West and Mid Berkshire and do everything I can to stand up for our diverse communities.”

Former Reading West Labour MP Martin Salter has backed Ms Bailey to win the seat from the Tories, warning people “not to waste their votes on the Lib Dems or other minor parties”.

She is another diversity campaigner joining the fight for the newly-created seat.

A key adversary will be the Liberal Democrat candidate Helen Belcher, who is also drawing on years of campaigning for trans rights.

“I grew up under the shadow of Section 28,” says Ms Bailey on her website.

“I remember standing in a school mock election (for Labour, of course!) where my opposition handed out leaflets urging people not to vote for me because I was gay.

“I decided to join the Labour Party and fight the discrimination I faced simply because of who I was.

“I took my passion for tackling unfairness to the national stage and as a teenager ran a campaign to force Labour to change its position on votes at 16. I remember appearing on BBC breakfast before school one day!”

Her stated campaign pillars include putting the local community first; the cost of living; bringing the NHS back to health; safer streets; jobs and investment; an improvement on mental health provision, especially for children; and more teachers for the area’s schools.

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