The Liberal Democrats have announced their candidate for the hotly contested new Reading West & Mid Berkshire seat, with Helen Belcher positioned to take the Blue Wall seat.
The party is clear that the fight for the new seat is a “two-horse race” after this May’s local elections, which made the Liberal Democrats the largest party across Berkshire. The sprawling new constituency has more Liberal Democrat Councillors than any other party, with Labour a long way behind.
Helen Belcher, the new Candidate, was born in west Reading and grew up in Burghfield Common. She has represented the Liberal Democrats in other recent elections in Berkshire and Wiltshire, and is “delighted to have this amazing opportunity”.
She has campaigned for years on the importance of good local services and schools, and against environmental damage, including the sewage crisis facing our rivers caused by the Conservative Government. Repeatedly recognised as a leading campaigner, she was appointed OBE in the New Year’s Honours List in 2023, for services to the transgender community.
Commenting on her selection as Parliamentary Candidate, Helen Belcher said:
“I grew up in this constituency, so in many ways this is a homecoming for me. I’m delighted to have this amazing opportunity to represent this beautiful area.”
“For too long people in our area have been abandoned by the Conservatives, with public services cut to the bone, threats to close our ticket offices, difficulty accessing timely healthcare, and sewage streaming into the Pang, the Kennet and the Thames. The people of Reading West & Mid Berkshire need a local champion who is vocal and visible, addressing the issues they care about - not more Conservative chaos, creating invisible enemies to distract from their many failures.”
Commenting, Cllr. Lee Dillon (Lib Dem candidate for Newbury and leader of West Berkshire Council) said:
“The huge Liberal Democrat victories this May were a sign that Conservative dominance of Berkshire is coming to an end. Helen is a fantastic candidate and with her in place, all across central and West Berkshire, we can tell this appalling Conservative Government: enough is enough.”