Three new councillors have been elected to Reading Borough Council (RBC) last week, including a former Zimbabwean diplomat and a former advisor to the McCann family.

There were 17 councillors in total elected in Reading last week at the local elections, with voting taking place on Thursday, May 6, and the winners confirmed at the count on Friday.

Just three of the 17 are new councillors, however, with each of the new members winning after a councillor had stood down from their role.

READ MORE:  The full list of Reading Borough Council election results

The three councillors also represent three different political parties.

Two of them come from the same party as the retiring councillor, while the other won by just 10 votes to secure a gain for their party.

Here are the new councillors at RBC.

Clarence Mitchell, Conservative councillor for Peppard ward

Clarence Mitchell, Conservative councillor for Peppard

Clarence Mitchell, Conservative councillor for Peppard

Clarence stood for the Conservative Party in Peppard in a double-election after former councillor Clare Grashoff stood down to concentrate on her teaching career.

He was elected alongside imcumbent Conservative Councillor Jane Stanford-Beale, receiving 1,457 votes, which was 452 more than nearest challenger James Denny (Labour).

Cllr Mitchell is a former BBC News correspondent, was director of the Government’s Media Monitoring Unit under Tony Blair and assisted the McCann family with media handling following the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine in Portugal.

He currently works in communications and his public affairs clients have included the Iraqi Prime Minister, the Government of Iceland, Microsoft, Bank of America, Lloyds Banking Group, Heineken, Hewlett Packard and Costa Cruises.

Cllr Mitchell has also worked with Reading Golf Club on its plans for 257 homes.

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Prior to standing in Reading, he stood to be elected as an MP in Brighton & Hove in 2015 but lost to Green MP Caroline Lucas.

He told us ahead of the election : “As a resident of Lower Caversham, I am committed to making Peppard Ward an even better place to live and to the protection of Reading’s green spaces.

“Along with my running mate Jane Stanford-Beale, who has planted trees in Clayfield Copse and Bugs Bottom and scrutinised planning applications, I am against unsustainable development and will always promote and prioritise the development of brown field sites where feasible.

“To keep our community safe, I will work with the Safer Neighbourhood Forum and Thames Valley Police to tackle speeding, anti-social behaviour and illegal traveller incursions.”

Alice Mpofu-Coles, Labour councillor for Whitley ward

Alice Mpofu-Coles, Labour councillor for Whitley

Alice Mpofu-Coles, Labour councillor for Whitley

Alice Mpofu-Coles stood for Labour and the Co-Operative Party in Whitley after former ouncillor Emmett McKenna (also Labour) chose to stand down.

She defeated nearest challenger Elizabeth Sheppard (Conservative) by 578 votes, securing 1,326 votes in total.

Cllr Mpofu-Coles is a former Zimbabwean diplomat and came to the UK as a refugee.

In the UK, Alice has worked as a social worker and was a chairwoman of the Reading Refugee Support Group.

She is currently doing a PHD on Young Zimbabweans in the UK.

A biography submitted to us before the election by the local Labour party describes her as “an active community member and trustee of several local charities”.

It adds: “If elected she pledges to work with local communities, local schools, colleges, and the university to foster greater cooperation and advocate for better physical and mental health, including social care services for the elderly and those living with disabilities.”

David McElroy, Green councillor for Redlands ward

David McElroy, Green councillor for Redlands

David McElroy, Green councillor for Redlands

David McElroy stood for the Green Party in Redlands as the party won another seat in east Reading by a whisker.

Cllr McElroy defeated Labour’s Andrew Hornsby-Smith by just 10 votes, securing 1,009 votes to Mr Hornsby-Smith’s 999.

READ MORE: Green Party take seat from Labour by TEN votes as Labour keep strong majority

Former Labour councillor Tony Jones stood down from his role after 30 years of service, with Mr Hornsby-Smith taking his place as a candidate.

Green Councillor Jamie Whitham had previously won another seat in Redlands from Labour’s Jan Gavin in 2019.

Councillor David Absolom remains the only Labour councillor left in Redlands, with the Greens having already won all three Park ward seats from Labour in recent years.

Cllr McElroy describes himself on Twitter as an “environmental scientist, social marketeer, sports lover and ranter on all topics of contention”.

He works at the Marine Stewardship Council, which works to keep fish and our oceans sustainable, as a senior policy manager.

Cllr McElroy was born in the Australian outback and has a PhD in how human activity affects natural systems.

He lives in Reading with his wife and nine-month-old son. He stood for election to become Reading East MP in 2019, losing to Labour’s Matt Rodda.

A biography submitted by the local Green Party before the election stated: “David works for greener food and is a keen cyclist.

“If elected David will continue to work hard all year round alongside Cllr Whitham in Redlands Ward supporting residents, campaigning for safer roads and working to tidy up Redlands.”