The leader of the Conservatives on Reading Borough Council has answered speculation over whether he could become a parliamentary candidate following news that one of Reading’s current MP is standing down.

Sir Alok, the Conservative MP for Reading West, announced that he would not be standing as a parliamentary candidate for the next general election earlier this week.

This means that the Conservative party must select a new parliamentary candidate for the newly formed Reading West & Mid Berkshire constituency, which was created earlier this year.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service asked councillor Clarence Mitchell, the Conservative group leader on Reading Borough Council, whether he would consider becoming the candidate for the new MP seat.

Cllr Mitchell (Conservative, Emmer Green) said: “Sir Alok’s political legacy for Reading is substantial and he will be a very hard act to follow.

“However, the Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate selection process for the new seat is entirely a matter for the newly formed  Reading West & Mid Berkshire Conservative Association, so it would be both premature and inappropriate for me to comment any further for now.

“Once that process is underway, I’ll consider my options then.”

Reading Chronicle: Alok Sharma - UK Parliament official portraits 2017.Alok Sharma - UK Parliament official portraits 2017.

The political parties are currently in a period of reorganisation following this year’s constituency boundary view, which redrew the political map of England.

The Reading West & Mid Berkshire constituency is made up of the Reading Borough wards of Kentwood, Tilehurst, and parts of Norcot and Battle, along with the West Berkshire areas of Calcot, Theale, Pangbourne, Buckleberry, Basildon and Burghfield.

Cllr Mitchell represents Emmer Green ward, which is part of the Reading Central constituency.

Reading Central is made up of all Caversham wards, Central Reading, East Reading, Katesgrove, Southcote, Coley, Battle ward and parts of Norcot.

Cllr Mithcell has been the subject of previous speculation from Labour rivals that he moved to Reading to become a parliamentary candidate.

READ MORE: Reading Conservative councillor accused of moving to area to pursue MP ambitions

Rebuffing those claims at the time, cllr Mitchell said he was “utterly committed to putting Reading first in all I say and do” following his re-election as a councillor in 2022.

Fellow Conservatives have paid tribute to Sir Alok for his work as an MP after he announced he would be stepping down at a party meeting on Tuesday, September 26.

Ben Blackmore, the chairman of the Reading West and Mid Berkshire Conservative Association tweeted: “Thank you for continuing service and most importantly declaring your intentions to your local members before anyone else.”

Emma Webster, a former West Berkshire councillor tweeted: Thank you for everything you have done for Reading West and beyond since your selection as a candidate in 2006. It’s been a pleasure to be part of your campaign team at every election. Wishing you all the best for the future.