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Reading Borough Council Candidates – 22 May

rbc-hex1Reading Borough Council has now published the full list of candidates nominated for the local Council elections on Thursday 22 May.

There are some interesting  points to note. Firstly, despite all the bluster UKIP have failed to field a full slate of candidates, with nominations in just 10 of the seats up for election. Secondly, despite publishing names of candidates for Katesgrove and Whitley, the Trades Union and Socialist Coalition are only standing in Caversham ward! Is this designed to hurt Labour in one of their top target wards?

I was intrigued to see that Labour has switched their Park ward candidates around so that Lawrence is now standing in the by-election and Kaur in the main election against Green Leader Rob White. Presumably they think that their candidate from West Reading has a better chance than their candidate from leafy Emmer Green?!

On the amusing side of things it is fun to see that in Peppard ward voters will have a chance to vote for Day or Knight!

Abbey Ward

BLACK, Richard – Green

JAMES, Stephen – UKIP

MOORE, James  – Lib Dem

TAYLOR, Laurence – Conservative

TICKNER, Bet – Labour

Battle Ward

GOODALL, Glenn – Lib Dem

HACKER, Sarah – Labour

ISHTIAQ, Imran – Conservative

LOCKEY, Alan – Green

PASCUAL, Jean-Marie – Roman Party-Ave!

Caversham Ward

BURDEN, Chris – Lib Dem

CHRISP, Rachael – Labour

DIAMOND, Michael –  UKIP

HICKS, Jenny – Green

POLAND, Geoff – Conservative


Church Ward

CARNELL, Paul – Conservative

JOHNSON, Vivienne – Green

MACNEILL, Margaret – Lib Dem

PEARCE, Ashley – Labour


Katesgrove Ward


JAMES, Sophie – Labour

KEANE, Louise – Green

KINSLEY, Peter – Lib Dem

WARMAN, Emma – Conservative

Kentwood Ward

DENNIS, Glenn – Labour

SHAFFREY, Ruth – Green

STEELE, Tom – Conservative

THOMAS, Howard –  UKIP

WALLS, Jon – Lib Dem

Minster Ward

BLACK, Katie – Conservative

DILLON, Patrick – UKIP

FANTI, Jon – Lib Dem

LIVINGSTON, Marion – Labour

MURPHY, Hazel – Green

Norcot Ward

ABSOLOM, Debs – Labour

HUGHES, Georgina – Lib Dem

PATTERSON, David – Green

VOSE, Clare – Conservative

Park Ward


BASHARAT, Mohammad – Conservative

KAUR, Anrish – Labour

RYE, Rebecca – Lib Dem

WHITE, Rob – Green

Park Ward By-Election

AKHTAR, Shanaz – Conservative

JAKEMAN, Francis – Lib Dem

LAWRENCE, Matthew – Labour

WILLIAMS, Josh – Green

Peppard Ward

DAY, Kate – Green


PLATTS, Natalie – Labour

RALPH, Mark – Independent

ROBINSON, Simon – Conservative

WOODS, Jenny – Lib Dem

Redlands Ward

ABSOLOM, David – Labour

ALLAN, Robert – UKIP

BAYES, Kirsten – Lib Dem

HOPPER, Helen – Conservative

MURTAGH, Kizzi – Green

Southcote Ward

ADAMS, Maddy – Lib Dem

CRESSWELL, Doug – Green

ENNIS, John – Labour

WIGGINS, Ellis – Conservative

Thames Ward

DICKSON, John – Independent

MCNAMARA, Sarah – Green

PENMAN, Guy – Lib Dem

STAINTHORP, Richard – Labour

STEVENS, David – Conservative

Tilehurst Ward

BANARAS, Haji – Labour

DUVEEN, Ricky – Lib Dem

KENNET, Miriam – Green


VICKERS, Robert – Conservative

Whitley Ward

BLATTLER, Janel – Lib Dem

BROWN, Nick – Conservative

EDEN, Rachel – Labour

JOHNSON, Keith – Green

WAKE, Jamie – Independent

April 28, 2014 Posted by | Local | Leave a comment

New Opinium Poll – Labour Lead Falls to 2%

 There is a new Opinium poll in todays Observer newspaper showing Labour lead dropping to just 2%:

            Conservative            32% (up 2%)

                                                           Labour                      34% (down 2%)

                                                           Lib Dem                      7% (no change)

                                                           UKIP                         18% (no change)

This poll is broadly the same as the Populus poll which had both the Conservatives and Labour on 35%.

David Cameron’s personal rating has improved slightly from -11% to -8% while Ed Miliband’s has fallen from -20% to -22%. 38% approved of Cameron’s performance against 46% who disapproved, while 24% approved of Miliband’s performance against 46% who disapproved. Nick Clegg’s net rating is -42%. 16% said they approved of his performance and 58% said they disapproved.

Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 1,965 GB adults aged 18+ from 22 to 25 April 2014. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.

Opinium Parties - Apr 14

April 27, 2014 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment

Front Office Update – 2013-14

rbc-hex1Some readers have contacted me to request an update on the “Front Office” activity totals I used to publish for each Councillor using the records system adopted by Reading Borough Council. It gives an indication of the case work taken up by Councillors but does not reflect all the other work done by Councillors which includes formal meetings of Council committees, informal community meetings, ward surgeries and appointment to external organisations.

The numbers of recorded “Front Office “ cases by political group for the 11 months to the end of March 2014 are as follows:

Labour (26)

Cllr Jo Lovelock (Norcot) – 144

Cllr Rachel Eden (Whitley) – 127

Cllr John Ennis (Southcote) – 96

Cllr Tony Page (Abbey) – 96

Cllr Jan Gavin (Redlands) – 70

Cllr Eileen McElligott (Church) – 69

Cllr Sarah Hacker (Battle) – 54

Cllr Deborah Edwards (Southcote) – 49

Cllr Tony Jones (Redlands) – 49

Cllr Mike Orton (Whitley) – 42

Cllr Bet Tickner (Abbey) – 41

Cllr Paul Woodward (Church) – 34

Cllr Pete Ruhemann (Southcote) – 30

Cllr Liz Terry (Minster) – 29

Cllr Rose Williams (Katesgrove) – 28

Cllr Richard Davies (Caversham) – 26

Cllr Chris Maskell (Battle) – 25

Cllr Daya Pal Singh (Kentwood) – 25

Cllr Matt Rodda (Katesgrove) – 21

Cllr Gul Khan (Battle) – 20

Cllr Marian Livingston (Minster) – 20

Cllr Paul Gittings (Minster) – 13

Cllr Peter Jones (Norcot) – 10

Cllr Kelly Edwards (Whitley) – 8

Cllr Graeme Hoskin (Norcot) – 8

Cllr Mohammed Ayub (Abbey) – 7

Conservative (12)

Cllr Sandra Vickers (Tilehurst) – 96

Cllr Richard Willis (Peppard) – 96

Cllr Ed Hopper (Thames) – 45

Cllr Jenny Rynn (Kentwood) – 42

Cllr Isobel Ballsdon – (Mapledurham) – 38

Cllr Andrew Cumpsty (Caversham) – 28

Cllr James Anderson (Kentwood) – 17

Cllr Jeanette Skeats (Thames) – 12

Cllr Jane Stanford-Beale (Peppard) – 11

Cllr David Stevens (Thames) – 7

Cllr Tom Stanway (Caversham) – 4

Cllr Tim Harris (Church) – 3

Lib Dem (4)

Cllr Ricky Duveen (Tilehurst) – 64

Cllr Meri O’Connell (Tilehurst) – 44

Cllr Daisy Benson (Redlands) – 20

Cllr Rebecca Rye (Katesgrove) – 17

Green (3)

Cllr Rob White (Park) – 451

Cllr Melanie Eastwood (Park) – 25

Cllr Jamie Whitham (Park) – 18

Independent (1)

Cllr Mark Ralph (Peppard) – 80

I will stress again, as I have done before, that some Councillors use “Front Office” for almost everything while some colleagues prefer to refer their issues directly to Council Officers. I use a mix of both approaches.

April 26, 2014 Posted by | Local | Leave a comment

New Populus Poll – Labour’s Lead Has Gone!

There is a new Populus online poll out today which shows Labour’s lead over the Conservatives gone:

      Conservative              35% (up 2%)

      Labour                         35% (down 1%)

                                                           Lib Dem                         9% (down 1%)

                                                           UKIP                             13% (no change)

This poll comes on the same day as YouGov has Labour 6% ahead so it will be interesting to see what the weekend polls show. We are now in a position, one year from a General Election, where Labour’s poll lead varies from Zero to 6%. More worrying for Labour is the gradual decline in their vote share over the last few months.

Populus interviewed a random sample of 2,055 adults online between 23rd-24th April 2014. Interviews were conducted across Great Britain and the results have been weighted to be representative of all British adults. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

April 25, 2014 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment

Senior Conservative Councillor to Step Down

Cllr Andrew Cumpsty

Cllr Andrew Cumpsty

A senior Conservative Councillor has reluctantly decided to step down from the Council this May. Cllr Andrew Cumpsty (left) has decided not to contest the May 22nd election despite having been re-selected by the local Conservatives to stand in the Caversham ward he has represented since 2004.

Cllr Andrew Cumpsty explained, “I have had to make the painful decision not to stand for re-election this May in order to focus on developing the business I set up a couple of years ago. I had hoped to continue to serve the people of Caversham ward but have had to accept that this is not possible while building my business which has grown rapidly in the last few months.”

Conservative Group Leader Cllr Jeanette Skeats said, “I am really sorry that Andrew has stepped down. He has been a popular and well-respected local Councillor in Caversham ward and served the people of Reading with distinction as Leader of the Council in 2010/11. He will be hard to replace and I very much hope that in due course Andrew will be in a position to return to the Conservative group on the Council.”

Cllr Andrew Cumpsty served as Leader of the Council in 2010/11 when he led a coalition of Conservatives and Lib Dems to overturn years of Labour domination of Reading. Recently as Conservative Culture spokesman he has developed the idea of a dedicated Arts Centre in a restored “Abbey Quarter”, a concept he first promoted while Leader of the Council.

Geoff PolandReading East Conservatives have selected Geoff Poland to stand for Caversham ward. Geoff was President of the Reading Chamber of Commerce and now lives in central Reading. Geoff is an independent personal financial advisor and has helped many people in Reading through his work with Reading Matins Rotary Club. He was a Trustee and Treasurer of “British Community Trust – Peru” which is a project set up by a former Ambassador to the country to provide help and financial support to street children and financially disadvantaged children within that country.

Councillor Cumpsty continued, “I am delighted that Reading East Conservatives have selected Geoff Poland. With his strong Reading roots and strong connections with local business he will make a fantastic Councillor for Caversham ward and I intend to do everything I can to secure his election next month.”

April 21, 2014 Posted by | Local | Leave a comment

Reading Conservatives Announce the Second Tranche of Candidates

Reading Conservatives have announced the second tranche of their candidates for the 22 May local elections with the Vice-Chair and Co-Chair of the Pakistan Community Centre both standing in Park ward.

Conservative Group Leader Cllr Jeanette Skeats said, “I am delighted to be announcing the Conservative candidates for the remaining wards in Reading. I am especially pleased that two Pakistani community leaders have agreed to stand for us in Park ward. We now have a good slate with a variety of new candidates and some returning to stand again, demonstrating once again that the Conservatives are the party for all people and all communities in the Borough”

Mohammad BasharatMohammad Basharat (left)has been selected to contest Park ward. Mohammad came to the UK in 1975 and attended Katesgrove Primary School and Alfred Sutton School. Mohammad is the Vice-Chairman of the Pakistan Community Centre in Park ward and he has ensured that the centre is open to people of all faiths and beliefs. Mohammad has worked as an electronics engineer and a taxi driver and now owns a local taxi business. He lives in the ward with his family.

Shanaz Akhtar1Shanaz Akhtar (right) has been selected to contest the Park ward by-election. Shanaz is the co-Chair of the Pakistan Community Centre and is already heavily involved in community activities, running a Muslim ladies group and having her own programme on a community radio station. She attended Alfred Sutton School and now lives in the ward with her two daughters. Shanaz is keen to bring her experience and local connections to represent local people on the Council.

Katie BlackKatie Black (left) has been selected for Minster ward. Katie who lives locally in Reading, has been a marketing manager, supporting young adults with learning disabilities in the workplace, and a small business owner. Katie now works in people development for a large telecommunications company. In her spare time she volunteers to mentor underachieving students.

Ellis Wiggins1Ellis Wiggins (right) has been selected to contest Southcote ward. Ellis, who lives locally in Tilehurst, previously volunteered in a British Red Cross charity shop, and his work experience includes being a deliverer and volunteer with Oxford City Council. He currently works part-time as a caseworker for Alok Sharma MP, helping local residents with their problems. At university, Ellis was part of a successful campaign to lengthen opening hours of bars used by students and members of the local community. He also acted as a representative for students to raise issues and complaints with academic staff.

Laurence TaylorLaurence Taylor (left) has been selected to contest Abbey ward. Laurence has lived locally in Reading for the last ten years, and is married to Amandeep with two young daughters. For the last three years he has volunteered as Chairman of Reading Young Enterprise, working with eleven schools to help students start-up and run their own businesses. He is also a keen fundraiser, most recently sleeping out in Eldon Square to raise money for Action for Children. Laurence is passionate about the Royal Berks hospital, and wants all families to experience the same standard of excellent care his twin daughters received when they were born there prematurely 18 months ago.

?????????????????????????????????????Mother of two Clare Vose (right), who lives locally in the Dee Park estate, is the Conservative Council candidate in Norcot ward for the 2014 local elections. Clare is Norcot through and through having lived, gone to school and worked locally here all her life. A local campaigner who is  passionate about improving the local area for everyone,  Clare has chaired the Dee Park Residents’ Association for the past three years. In 2013 DPRA organised two coach trips to the seaside for the local residents. Clare is a Family Worker at  English Martyrs and St Michael’s primary schools. Previously, Clare supervised the Breakfast Club and After School Club set up for local children by Ranikhet Extended Services.

Emma WarmanEmma Warman (left) has been selected to contest Katesgrove ward. Emma first moved to Reading from Wales almost 20 years ago to study history at Reading University. She later lived in London for a few years whilst studying to become a barrister. Emma has been involved in local politics for almost as long and first stood as a candidate for Minster ward in 1999. As a former Reading Borough Councillor (Kentwood ward 2008-2012), Emma is experienced in representing the interests of local people on the Council. Like many other Reading residents, Emma commutes by train and tube to the City of London, where she now works as a Compliance Officer for a large multi-national insurance broker.

Nick Brown has been selected to contest Whitley ward in which he has lived for 23 years. Nick works locally in a Reading based technology-based manufacturer which has a worldwide customer base. Nick’s experience in the field of purchasing would lend itself ideally to getting value for money out of our Council Tax contributions and he would work to ensure it is spent wisely in the right places for those that need it.

April 18, 2014 Posted by | Local | Leave a comment

New Populus Poll – Labour’s Lead at 2%

There is a new Populus online poll out today which shows Labour’s lead over the Conservatives at just 2%:

      Conservative              33% (down 1%)

      Labour                         35% (no change)

                                                           Lib Dem                       11% (no change)

                                                           UKIP                             13% (up 1%)

This poll suggests that Labour is barely maintaining a lead over the Conservatives despite all the bad news for the Government over Maria Miller’s expenses. This week will see more economic good news and it will be interesting to see how the polls look over the Easter weekend.

Populus interviewed a random sample of 2,011 adults online between 11th-13th April 2014. Interviews were conducted across Great Britain and the results have been weighted to be representative of all British adults. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

April 14, 2014 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment

New ICM Poll – Labour’s Lead up to 5%

There is a new ICM poll in the Guardian tomorrow showing Labour’s lead in Westminster voting intentions edging up to 5% while the Lib Dems remain ahead of UKIP for the second month in a row:

         Conservative              32% (down 3%)

                                                    Labour                        37% (down 1%)

                                                    Lib Dem                      12% (no change)

                                                    UKIP                             11% (up 2%)

Despite all the coverage of Maria Miller’s expenses and her consequent resignation Labour can still only manage a 5% lead in the most reliable pollster’s findings.

ICM also has a European Election poll which has UKIP in third place. It finds Labour ahead with 36% (+1%), Cons 25% (NC), UKIP 20% (NC), LD 6% (-3%), Green 6% (-1%).

ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1,000 adults aged 18+ by telephone on 11-13 April 2014. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.

ICM_Poll_Apr 14


April 14, 2014 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment

Britain’s Got Talent 2014 Auditions

This year’s season of Britain’s Got Talent got off to a flying start tonight with some fantastic acts. The two that impressed me the most were:

Roll on next week!



April 12, 2014 Posted by | General Musings | Leave a comment

New Populus Poll – Labour’s Lead Cut to 1%

There is a new Populus online poll out today which shows Labour’s lead over the Conservatives down to just 1%:

      Conservative              34% (no change)

      Labour                         35% (down 2%)

                                                           Lib Dem                       11% (up 2%)

                                                           UKIP                             12% (down 2%)

This poll suggests that the narrowing we saw following the Budget was no short-lived bounce. The biggest lead Labour has managed in the last week has been 6% and we have the monthly ICM poll to come in the next few days.

Populus interviewed a random sample of 2,051 adults online between 9th-10th April 2014. Interviews were conducted across Great Britain and the results have been weighted to be representative of all British adults. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

April 11, 2014 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment

New Populus Poll – Labour’s Lead at 3%

There is a new Populus online poll out today which shows Labour’s lead over the Conservatives down to 3%:

      Conservative              34% (up 1%)

      Labour                         37% (no change)

                                                           Lib Dem                         9% (down 1%)

                                                           UKIP                             14% (up 1%)

After a spate of polls with Labour’s lead slashed to a mere 1% we have seen most polls in the last week showing some improvement in Labour’s position. However, the furthest ahead Labour has managed is 7% in one poll. The average lead is currently just 3-5%.

Populus interviewed a random sample of 2,034 adults online between 4th-6th April 2014. Interviews were conducted across Great Britain and the results have been weighted to be representative of all British adults. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

April 7, 2014 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment