Stand as a candidate

Every 3 out of 4 years Reading holds Local Elections. Labour are still failing local residents: wasting council tax, bin charges, equal pay issues, poor children's services and a poor record on housing. Nationally, both Labour and the Conservatives are pushing ahead with an economically damaging Hard Brexit and failing to stand up to rising intolerance that is dividing communities across the country.

We can do better.

We want to run a team of local champions that can show residents how Reading could be different. A team that represents the whole borough, works hard, listens and delivers results. Could you be part of that team?

Who can be a Lib Dem local candidate?

If you want to stand for the Liberal Democrats in the Local Elections, you must meet the following criteria on both the day your nomination papers are submitted and on polling day:

  • Have reached 18 years of age.
  • Be a British citizen, a citizen of another European Union country or be a “qualifying” Commonwealth citizen.
  • Be a member of the Liberal Democrats at the time you apply for approval – if you're not currently a party member, you can join now

As well as these two basic criteria you must also meet at least one of the following qualifications (although we recommend that you fill in all of the ways in which you qualify on the nomination papers):

  • Be on the electoral roll somewhere within the Reading Borough Council area. If you only qualify on these grounds then you must remain on the register continuously throughout your time as a councillor.
  • You have occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in the Reading Borough Council area during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination and the day of election.
  • Have your main or only place of work solely somewhere within the Reading Borough Council area during the last 12 months.
  • Have lived for all of the previous 12 months within the Reading Borough Council area.

There are a number of criteria that would completely disqualify you from standing for election:

  • If you are subject to a Bankruptcy Restriction Order, Bankruptcy Interim Order or a Bankruptcy Restrictions Undertaking in England and Wales, been declared bankrupt in Northern Ireland or had your estate sequestrated in Scotland. If you have an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) you are not disqualified.
  • If you have been convicted of an imprisonable offence within five years of polling day and sentenced to three months or more in prison (including a suspended sentence) without the option of a fine.
  • If you have been disqualified under the Representation of the People Act 1983 and the Audit Commission Act 1998. This largely related to convictions in an election court, any offence related to financial donations or being surcharged by a district auditor.
  • You cannot stand for election to any council that employs you, and this often also applies if you work for a joint authority or local partnership that involves the council you wish to stand for.
  • Teachers and other school staff are in a complex situation. In addition to the usual bar on standing for a council that employs you, you cannot usually stand for election to a council that appoints representatives to your school’s governing body or part funds the school even if you aren’t employed directly by that council. This can therefore often rule out staff from foundation schools, free schools and academies, from standing for the council in which the school is situated.
  • Holding a job that has been defined as ‘politically restricted’ bars you from standing for election to any council. These are usually top management, people who regularly directly advise councillors, most political assistants and any job deemed politically sensitive.

What kind of candidates do we want?

We are looking for people:

  • of all backgrounds, ages, beliefs and experience who reflect our fantastic borough
  • who are motivated to fight and deliver change for their local area
  • with community links and experience that they can draw on
  • with an open and tolerant outlook who believe in communities working together, not turning inward
  • who are team players that will support other candidates and aren't only in it for themselves

If you want to know more about what Liberal Democrats stand for, you can read about our values.

What's involved in being selected?

  • All candidates need to be approved by our Approval Committee. The Committee will review your written application and invite you to a short 30 minute interview to verify you are eligible and talk to you about why you want to stand.
  • You should indicate whether you want to be approved to stand for a Target Ward or not. Target Wards are Council wards that will be the primary focus of the campaign and candidates seeking approval for a Target Ward will need to demonstrate a strong commitment to campaigning with the party.
  • The Approval Committee will consist of experienced Local Party members. There will be three members of the Committee present at each approval interview.
  • Interview panels will always include both men and women and all Committee members will be briefed on avoiding unconscious bias in interviews.
  • If there are more candidates than available seats – local members will vote to select who will stand.
  • Approved candidates not selected for their preferred wards can re-apply for selection in another ward later if they wish to.

Resources and support

If you're interested in running as a candidate but would like support there are lots of resources available to help you decide whether to run and to help you with your application, selection, campaigning and in your role once elected.

  • Read this guide on standing as a Liberal Democrat Councillor, prepared by the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors and the Local Government Association.
  • See the Be a Councillor website for a wide range of general information on what's involved in being a councillor
  • Watch a video with Lib Dem Councillors and activists talking about why they got involved in local community politics
  • The Liberal Democrats offer lots of training opportunities for Council candidates and elected councillors at our two Party Conferences, regional away days and local events: local champions and party groups offer additional support and guidance for women and BME members.

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