Two politicians from different parties have pledged to work together to advocate for women’s issues in Wokingham.

Louise Timlin, the branch leader of the Reading and Wokingham Women’s Equality Party (WEP) has announced that she will not be standing for election in the Evendons ward in the upcoming 2022 Local Elections, and is instead endorsing incumbent councillor Sarah Kerr, a Liberal Democrat.

Louise Timlin has regularly stood for election twice in Wokingham, running for the Evendons seat in the 2021 elections, coming in last place with 175 votes.

Last year, she criticised the Conservatives on Wokingham Borough Council for failing to sign up to the White Ribbon campaign, which would commit the council to end male violence against women and girls.

Louise has welcomed cllr Kerr’s scrutiny of the council’s decision to select Cranstoun to run services tackling domestic abuse in the borough in July last year.

READ MORE: Wokingham councillor criticises domestic abuse contractor

Explaning her endorsement, Louise said: “I have contested the local elections for Evendons Ward twice in order to raise awareness of issues impacting women’s equality, including ensuring specialist services for women fleeing domestic violence are available to all who need them.

“As a new party, winning six per cent of the vote both times demonstrates that these are issues which matter to the residents. I have seen cllr Kerr speak out about matters of inequality, and we have campaigned together on issues such as domestic abuse provision locally and the White Ribbon campaign.

“She is a trusted partner and advocate for women’s equality.

Bracknell News: Louise Timlin from the Women's Equality PartyLouise Timlin from the Women's Equality Party

“By working together, the Wokingham Lib  Dems and WEP have shown that we can do politics differently and for the benefit of vulnerable residents in our community.

“I am therefore delighted to endorse cllr Kerr in her bid for re-election in 2022.”

Cllr Kerr was elected in a 2019 by-election after former Liberal Democrat councillor Helen Power stepped down following a cancer diagnosis.

READ MORE: Concerns raised over new Wokingham domestic abuse strategy

Cllr Kerr said: “It has been an honour representing the residents of Evendons Ward over the last three years.

“As an elected councillor, I am frequently supporting and being an advocate for vulnerable members of our community, which in turn has highlighted what my own privilege affords me.

“I would like to personally thank Louise for bringing to public attention the failings of the Council’s contracted domestic abuse service provider.

“It is unacceptable that the Council’s partner organisation continues to fail on delivering basic services that negatively impacts on some of our most vulnerable residents.

Bracknell News: Cllr Sarah Kerr in the Wokingham Borough Council chamberCllr Sarah Kerr in the Wokingham Borough Council chamber

“I am thrilled that Louise is endorsing me in the 2022 local elections and we hope to demonstrate how positive collaborative working can be for our community.

“I am committed to doing everything in my power to tackle inequality and hope that voters will give me the opportunity to continue doing this as their elected representative on 5th May.”

READ MORE: Liberal Democrat leader visits Wokingham in effort to smash Blue Wall

For its part, a spokesperson for Cranstoun said that it and the council are both fulfilling all of its statutory requirements and refuge provision is provided to people fleeing domestic abuse in the borough.

It is understood that the women’s refuge in Wokingham has been retained by the previous contractor Berkshire Women’s Aid.