Has Labour Given Up on Reading East?
Today the national Labour Party published its list of 106 target seats which it wants to gain at the next General Election in order to achieve an overall majority of 60 seats. Unsurprisingly the list includes the Reading West seat, which Labour only lost at the 2010 election but which now needs a swing of over 6% to win back. More surprising was the absence of the Reading East seat from the list. Rob Wilson gained the seat from Labour in 2005 with a tiny majority but consolidated his position in 2010 gaining a substantial majority (7,605) and pushing Labour into third place.
Seats designated as “target seats” by the major parties receive extra campaigning resources and visits from senior party figures during the run up to and during the election campaign. Whilst the press release does say that the list will be kept under review, Reading Labour Party members in the West will get extra resources, and once again members in the East will be the poor relations. This will be a big blow for their local Councillor candidate who has already crossed swords unsuccessfully with Rob Wilson MP.
Perhaps Labour has concluded that with their candidate in third place last time and a popular and active local Conservative MP readopted unanimously their chances in Reading East are slim. It does seem so!