GE24: Mace director launches bid to become Labour MP

A senior Mace executive is looking to swap construction for legislation by standing as a Labour candidate in the forthcoming general election.

Mike Reader, global lead for winning work in Mace’s consulting arm, is hoping to get elected in the key battleground of Northampton South.

Reader has worked at Mace for six and a half years, a spell that would come to an end if he is successful in overcoming the Conservatives’ 2019 majority of 13,324.

On his campaign website, Reader, who previously worked at consultancy Pick Everard for 10 years, highlighted his construction industry experience, including his role as operations director on NHS Nightingale during the Covid pandemic.

“I was there. I played my part on that project as operations director in the construction team,” he says on the website.

He also pointed to his role in forming Perfect Circle, a joint venture between Pick Everard, Gleeds and Aecom, which he said had created more than 500 jobs in the East Midlands.

In addition, Reader cited his role in the team that set up new construction apprenticeship standards in the sector.

Reader is currently on a sabbatical from his Mace role in order to focus on campaigning. Northampton South is 155th in the list of most winnable seats for Labour.

It would require a 13.43 per cent swing from Conservative to Labour for Reader to make it into Parliament.

Labour needs to win in such areas to form a majority government, and the party is understood to be targeting resources at the constituency campaign.

If Reader beats incumbent Conservative MP  for Northampton South, Andrew Lewer, it is expected Reader would resign from Mace.

On his website, Reader tells voters: “You deserve a visible and active local representative. I will not take a second job. Being an MP will be my only focus.”

Reader could join another former construction professional already sitting on Labour’s benches.

Slough MP Tan Dhesi, shadow minister for exports, was formerly a director at two firms in the sector – Dhesi Construction and construction logistics form DGP.

If elected, Reader would step away from Mace at a time of significant change for the business.

Earlier this month, the firm announced a raft of governance changes, including an aim to grow Mace Construct revenue to more than £1.2bn by 2030, driven by overseas work.

Mace said it would be inappropriate to comment on Reader’s candidacy.

However, in a separate statement on the calling of a general election, Mace chief of staff Hannah Vickers said: “Although the announcement was a surprise, it’s welcome news for the industry to finally have certainty about the election timetable and begin to plan around it.

“However, whatever the outcome, it means we won’t have full visibility of the future infrastructure and construction pipeline until the new government announces their plans and sets out their approach in full in the autumn.

“Between then and now, it’s incumbent on the sector to bring our collective expertise to bear in tackling the big problems that any new government will face: confidence in delivery, productivity improvement, and structuring programmes and projects in a way that attracts private finance to invest in infrastructure at a scale not seen in recent years.”

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