As the General Election campaign enters the final week former Reading West MP Martin Salter has written to thousands of constituents to ask them to join him in voting for Victoria Groulef to give the constituency back a strong, and effective MP rather than a party placeman.
Martin, who represented Reading West from 1997 until he stepped down in 2010, has come out of retirement to campaign for Victoria as he wants local people to have an MP who fights long and hard for their constituents. He believes that the current Conservative MP is more interested in personal advancement at Westminster than in speaking up for his constituents.
Martin has agreed to work with Victoria -- should she win the election -- to rebuild an efficient, responsive local constituency service.
Martin wrote, "I want an MP with passion and principles who will work for us all without fear and favour. Victoria will be that MP and I back her 100%. As ever, Reading West will be a straight fight between Labour and the Tories. I hope you will join me in electing Vicky on May 7th and give Reading West back the type of MP you deserve and have not had for five years."
Victoria said, "This week, the last of my three year campaign to earn support from all parts of Reading West, I'm fighting to be the independently minded constituency MP putting people first that Martin Salter was for over a decade. I have the passion and the principles, the knowledge and relationships, to stand up for Reading West, and I'm campaigning doorstep by doorstep, street by street, for everybody's support."
Drawing on his successful lobbying for funding to rebuild the Royal Berks and build a new hospital at Prospect Park, Martin has deep concerns about the long-term safety of the NHS in Conservative hands and is pleased that Victoria has already proved to be a champion for better health services.
Last year Victoria worked to save local NHS services in Southcote, collecting over 1,000 signatures to a petition to NHS England to ensure that resigning GPs stayed on at Circuit Lane Surgery and to keep the surgery in public hands. NHS England has acted on the petition and chosen a GP provider to run Circuit Lane Surgery, meeting the demands of local residents and Victoria.
As Labour's MP candidate, Victoria has campaigned against the building of homes on floodplains in Reading-- for instance, over the Kennet floodplain -- and piled pressure on West Berkshire Council to make their decisions about new home building in public rather than in secret. Victoria has raised awareness of the lack of understanding of relatively unheard of medical condition, which included a debate in Parliament noting her advocacy, and closely worked with local small businesses to produce Labour policies such as a small business rates freeze and cut.
Martin, who still lives in Reading West, served for 12 years as a Reading Borough councillor and deputy leader of the council before becoming an MP. He won three elections in a row and still has a large following in the town. He currently works for the Angling Trust as their national campaigns co-ordinator.