THE general election on July 4 saw a historic result for Wokingham, as it elected its first ever Liberal Democrat MP. Clive Jones, former leader of the council, will serve as the town’s representative after decades of Conservative rule. He takes over from Tory veteran Sir John Redwood, who served as MP since 1987.

Clive Jones took home 25,743 votes in total, beating Conservative candidate Lucy Demery, who received 17,398 votes. She stood as the new Tory hopeful after Sir John made the surprise decision to step down soon after the election result was announced.

Mr Jones had previously contested in the 2015 and 2017 general elections, coming third place both times. In 2019, former Tory MP for Bracknell, Dr Philip Lee, ran as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Wokingham and came in second to Redwood. He closed the gap between the Tories and Lib Dems by just over 7,000 votes.

The former leader of the council then returned as a candidate for the third time – and third time proved lucky as Mr Jones finally prevailed in this election.

He not only managed to overturn the Conservative’s majority, but slightly increase his by around a thousand votes.

In third place came Reform UK’s Colin Wright, taking home 5,274 votes. He was followed by Labour’s Monica Hamadi, who took home 3,631 votes. In last place was the Green Party’s Merv Boniface, with 1,953 votes.

Turnout in Wokingham was 72%, down by around 6 per cent from the previous election in 2019.

The Liberal Democrats had fought a hard campaign here, having gained control of Wokingham Borough council in 2021 – led by Clive Jones at the time. He then stepped down as leader of the council in 2022 to focus on his parliamentary seat campaign.

Wokingham was one of Sir Ed Davey’s target seats in the so-called ‘blue wall’ across the Southeast of England. The party sent various high-profile figures to the constituency during the election campaign – including former party leader Sir Vince Cable, spokesperson for foreign affairs Layla Moran, and current party leader Sir Ed Davey.

Mr Jones will serve as one of the three new Liberal Democrat MPs as Berkshire’s political makeup completely transforms. Historically dominated by the Conservatives, only one Tory MP remains, in Windsor. The rest of the county’s seats, including newly created Early and Woodley and Reading West and Mid Berkshire, were gained by Labour, as well as Bracknell.