THE DEPUTY leader of the borough council hailed last night's election result as a big leap forward for local government.

Councillor Tony Page, labour, was elated after candidate Matt Rodda pipped former MP Rob Wilson to the Reading East seat with an 3,749 majority.

Cllr Page accused Mr Wilson, of Caversham, of constantly 'undermining and working against' Reading Borough Council during his stint as a member of parliament.

But he believes there will be good times ahead and insists his close friend Mr Rodda, who is also a member of RBC, understands local issues and will campaign to support some of Reading's most prominent issues.

Reading Chronicle:

Matt Rodda is the new MP for Reading East.

Cllr Page, who lost in the 2005 to Mr Wilson by 450 votes, said: "It's not that long ago that we had a Labour MP.

"I am delighted that we have another Labour MP but most importantly for the first time in 12 years we will have an MP who will work positively and engage with the council.

"In the case of the previous Conservative MP, his whole agenda was an attempt to undermine the council.

"He seemed to have a pathological hatred for the council that prevented him from engaging or working with us.

"His disappearance is in everybody's best interests locally and I have every confidence that Mr Rodda will work closely with the council and he has already made that clear."

Alok Sharma was re-elected as the MP for Reading West.

And Cllr Page continued: "Having an MP in Reading who will work with the council as opposed to undermining them is very important.

"I do not hold the same criticism against Alok Sharma."

Mr Wilson was first elected as MP for Reading East in May 2005. He was appointed as minister for charities during his stint as an MP and was one of eight ministers to lose their seat.

While Cllr Page criticised Mr Wilson's efforts, others insisted it will be a big loss for Reading East.

Laura Blumenthal, conservative councillor on Wokingham Borough Council, tweeted her support to the 52-year-old.

She said: "Devastated that South Lake ward has lost their incredibly hardworking MP.

"Thank you for fighting so much for local people."

Speaking last night, Mr Wilson congratulated Mr Rodda on his victory.

He added: "I would also like to thank my team who have worked extremely hard and been dedicated and genuinely I pay tribute to all the work you have done on my behalf.

"Congratulations to the victor it's a big win for him personally and i congratulate him on it and I wish him well for the difficult period that lies ahead."