A new branch of the Labour Party has been created to take on the Conservatives in the area.

The next general election, which has to be held no later than January 2025 will be fought under new boundaries as the political map of England determining MP seats was changed this summer.

The redrawing of the map created the Reading West and Mid Berkshire constituency, which is mostly made up of the existing Reading West and Newbury seats.

Now the Labour Party branch of the Reading West and Mid Berkshire constituency has been created at a meeting in the Calcot Centre.

At the meeting, Councillor Glenn Dennis (Labour, Kentwood) was made chair of the party branch. 

The Conservatives are the party to beat, as voters in the current Reading West and Newbury MP seats have elected Conservative MPs in the last four elections.

However, cllr Dennis argued that Labour does have a real shot of winning.

He said: “Ordinarily Reading West and Mid Berkshire would be very challenging for Labour but nothing is impossible.

“Due to the unpopularity of the government, we do have an opportunity.

“We have some very experienced people in terms of campaigning, I think a lot of those very experienced campaigners are now living in Reading West and Mid Berkshire, that will help our cause.

“If we are focused, which we will be, and we work hard we can win, there’s no question of that.

“We have got an opportunity, the ‘personal vote’ does not come into play here with Sir Alok Sharma resigning, it will be two new faces up against each other.”

Cllr Ellie Emberson (Labour, Coley) was selected as vice chairman.

The meeting was also attended by cllr Mark Keeping (Labour, Kentwood) former cllr Daya Pal Singh, and Olivia Bailey, the Labour candidate for Reading West in 2017.

She is the daughter of Dr Roy Bailey (Labour, Town Centre & the Parks) the executive member for children, learning and young people on Bracknell Forest Council.

The new seat is made up of the Kentwood, Norcot and Tilehurst wards of Reading Borough, as well as West Berkshire villages such as Pangbourne, Theale, Aldermaston and Burghfield & Mortimer, which are currently located in the Wokingham constituency.

Reading Chronicle: The Reading West and Mid Berkshire Constituency. Credit: Boundary Commission for EnglandThe Reading West and Mid Berkshire Constituency. Credit: Boundary Commission for England

Cllr Paul Gittings (Labour, Coley) who lives in Norcot, said: “It was a really well attended meeting, we’ve got a strong campaigning team, and we will try and win the seat in the next general election. It was a great turnout.”

The meeting took place on Tuesday, November 28.

Labour is the last of the big political parties to create its branch for the Reading West & Mid Berkshire constituency.

The Conservative Party created its branch in September.

The Conservatives are on the hunt for a candidate as Sir Alok Sharma, the incumbent MP for Reading West, announced that he will be standing down from his role once the general election is called.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats in the area selected Helen Belcher OBE to be their candidate in October.

There was friction in the Lib Dem candidate selection process as Adrian Abbs, a councillor representing Newbury Wash Common, quit the party claiming the selection process was ‘unfair’.

Cllr Abbs is considering an Independent run.