The importance of early years education, so-called ‘dangerous rhetoric’ on migration and more issues were discussed as a Labour candidate held a private meeting with women in Woodley.

Yuan Yang is the Labour MP candidate for Earley and Woodley in the general election this year.

At a meeting in a home in Woodley, she addressed 16 women with Pakistani and South Asian backgrounds.

The issues of early years education and the value of motherhood was discussed, with Ms Yang touting the Labour policy of bringing back breakfast clubs for children.

Ms Yang said: “We want children to have the best start in life, and for that, they need to have a good start to the day, so that’s why we want to bring back breakfast clubs in schools.”

She added bringing back breakfast clubs would have social benefits for children and take the care burden off families.

She also accused the Conservatives of funding cuts to Sure Start centres that led to 1,300 of the facilities closing by 2018.

Ms Yang also said she wants to see mental health counsellors in schools to cater to the emotional wellbeing of children.

She said: “I think a lot of problems that emerge in teenage years and even later in life, they are a result of things that happen earlier on where there can be intervention.

“It’s so much easier to prevent issues than it is to solve them later on.”

Ms Yang said: “We know that the reason why mothers are so important is because the first few years of a child’s life is so determinate of that child’s future, which is why we are focused on early year childcare.”

However, concern was raised about the Labour Party policy of putting a VAT tax on private school fees in 2025, which is opposed by the other main parties apart from the Greens.

Ms Yang said: “In the Labour manifesto, we are committed to not raising taxes on working people. Our approach to tax raising is to close the loopholes in the tax system.”

She added that Labour is being ‘honest’ with the public now about its VAT plans an what it wants to spend the money on.

Ms Yang also pointed out that private school tuition fees have gone up by 20 per cent on average since 2010 without such a tax.

Councillor Majid Nagra (Labour, Loddon) said: “We don’t question when schools raise fees, but when the government raises the tax we question it.

“We should say where the next government will spend the money raised – it will be invested in state schools.”

Labour has claimed that VAT on private school tuition will raise £1.6 billion a year which can be used to invest in state schools.

The women also expressed concern about rhetoric in the national debate on immigration.

Ms Yang said: “The Conservative Party have lost their way, they’ve veered into very dangerous right-wing territory.

“In Reading, we’re one of the most ethnically diverse areas, 30 per cent of the constituency is non-White ethnic, and 15 per cent of people were born outside the UK.

“I think Reading is a success story of diversity.”

Both Ms Yang and Cllr Nagra urged the women present to exercise their right to vote in the general election on Thursday, July 4.