Rachel Eden is the Labour Party’s candidate for Reading West.

She has been a Reading councillor since 2010 and run her business here which won an award last year.

She lives in Tilehurst and said she wouldn’t consider being the MP even for Reading East because Reading West is her home.

Below is the Q&A with Rachel to find out why she is standing for your vote.

Hi Rachel. How have you found the election so far?

It’s been great. I’ve been a councillor for so long that I’ve been involved in a lot of campaigns in the past, but this is the first time I’ve stood here to win.

I’ve been preparing for this for 18 months.

You don’t win an election by just turning up in the last few weeks and hoping people will vote for you.

You win it by building relationships over years and months and showing people the kind of MP you would be by your actions throughout.

What has the reaction been like when you knock on doors?

Probably the biggest single issue is Brexit, unsurprisingly.

A lot of people feel betrayed or lied to. A lot of people who always wanted to remain in the EU feel this is maybe their last chance to have a final say.

The NHS is probably second. There is a lot of concern about A&E waiting times at the Royal Berkshire Hospital; concern about GP and nursing shortages.

Also, people are very excited about the idea of having a local MP. People want someone who is very accessible and responsive to their concerns.

How will Labour’s NHS plans help the Royal Berkshire Hospital?

We need to properly fund the Royal Berks. You can’t run a decent health service on the cheap. Also social care which is under a lot of pressure.

One of the big things we have to do is recruitment; reinstating the nursing bursary and paying for nurses’ fees.

I know people who are unable to take up nursing places because they cannot afford to give up their income. We need to support them.

What do you think Alok Sharma has done well and not so well?

The thing I agree with the most is his work as International Development Secretary. There is clearly a lot of pressure within the Conservative Party to cut back on international development and so far he has resisted that. I would applaud him for that.

What I think we want in Reading West is an MP who is active, local and accessible. We used to have Martin Salter who lived at the heart of community and was well known and active.

People knew that they could get hold of him and he would give them a real answer.

Why do you think Reading West switched from Labour to the Conservative in 2010?

I think there were a lot of reasons. We can’t pretend the national picture didn’t have an impact. There was a national move that led to the change. Also, Martin stood down and he had a lot of personal support and we had a candidate that was not well known locally.

To some extent, everyone says Reading West reflects the national picture but maybe with a bit of nuance.

The vote share has improved in the Reading West elections since for Labour. Why is that?

Some of it is national – people are realising it is time for change. They have realised over the last decade they haven’t delivered what they are hoping to. But also we have very active local activists and I think people also look at what Labour offers locally and want someone who will champion their community first.

What’s your nuanced position on Brexit?

I think it’s quite straightforward. Everyone has slightly different positions but my position is quite clear.

I have felt for a long time that revoking article 50 would be wrong and would divide people.

But the type of Brexit being proposed is not necessarily the Brexit the referendum put forward so I think we should have a final say on it.

It needs to be something that is acceptable to the people of Northern Ireland.

Labour will put forward a sensible deal that people can live with. I would vote to remain but I would respect that final say on an actual deal. It would be a legally binding referendum.

It would all be done and dusted by the end of June.

If we have a majority parliament for a vote then it will happen.

Do you think there is any particular impact of Brexit on people in Reading?

A lot of us our concerned about the impact on jobs, businesses and our economy.

The recruitment problem we have in the NHS is directly linked to Brexit. We have got a shortage of European nurses and doctors.

We can’t have a deal that leaves Reading West residents worse off.

The idea that Brexit is done is nonsense. The Tories’ deal is a transition agreement for 12 months.

One of my hardest working campaigners voted to leave and would probably vote for a Labour deal. We support each other through thick and thin.

That sort of thing is not happening as much as it should – there has been artificial division. Most people are not defined by whether they voted to remain or not in 2016.

What would you campaign on as a local MP?

My first campaign would be around van tool theft. It is a massive issue for working people who have valuable equipment.

When people break into vans it is treated like a car and therefore not treated seriously but these are people’s lives at stake. We need to change the law to make it a more serious offence.

I am also promising to get more investment in our communities and I am also very passionate about tackling climate change – getting our own house in order and also pushing international negotiations.

We have a real opportunity next summer at the climate change summit in Glasgow to lead the way.

People have suggested the manifesto is over ambitious and Labour won’t be able to deliver it

I don’t think anyone has said to me they won’t vote for our manifesto. It is quite ambitious, but it has to be because of the mess we have had over the last decade. People have been very positive about our policies

What do you think about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party?

I can only apologise to Jewish people who are hurt by the fact our party has not lived up to the highest of standards.

I don’t think it’s good enough to say other parties have problems as well. We need to hold ourselves to the highest possible standard.

We are the party of equality; therefore we should stand up for all people.

What do you think the result will be in Reading West?

I think I’m going to win but I think it’s going to be a tough fight. It’s hard to know because people are still making up their minds.

People from all political backgrounds are generally not sure what to do. I think our campaign is running with a lot of energy and enthusiasm.

I had someone campaign for me who had never voted for Labour before and decided to vote tactically and then looked at the manifesto and decided to come and help.

He saw the local work I’m doing. I think that sort of energy is going to make the difference in the last few weeks.

Rachel spoke to Launchpad after our interview to discuss her views on housing and homelessness.

You can watch her interview with Launchpad here.