Biography

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Wera is a dedicated pro-European and a committed environmentalist. She was elected Bath’s first female Member of Parliament in 2017.

Wera was born in Hanover and got involved in politics whilst at school. She joined the education trust FWS, whose aim was to inform young people about politics, and to build a strong civic society for the future. During this period, she campaigned with the anti-nuclear movement, when a disused salt mine near Hanover was earmarked as a permanent nuclear waste storage facility.

After leaving school, Wera continued her education, pursuing a joint honours degree in History and Fine Art at the University of Münster. She studied for two years, focusing purely on art at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. She moved back to Germany and completed a Masters in History and Fine Art in Berlin, while working as a radio journalist.

She met her husband William in Berlin and they married in 1989. The following year they moved to Liverpool, where she was awarded a DAAD arts scholarship. She became a member of the Bluecoat Artists in central Liverpool, and opened a commercial modern art gallery on Falkner Street, one of the first of its kind in the city.

The family's four children were all born in Liverpool, but they moved to Rochdale in 1999 to be closer to William’s industrial textiles business. It was in Rochdale that Wera became involved in politics again. She was elected councillor in 2004 for the Norden ward and served for ten years.  Her time as councillor was defined by her opposition to the proposed development of 650 homes on the contaminated land of a former asbestos factory. The development, which included a nursery, was finally blocked in 2011 after seven years of persistent campaigning. Wera also led a campaign to save a local library building from being demolished. The campaign was successful, and to this day the building is owned and managed by the Norden Community Trust providing vital community facilities.

Wera was cabinet member for the Environment on Rochdale Council from 2006- 2009, chair of the Health Scrutiny committee 2009-2010 and served as the Liberal Democrat Group Leader until 2012. From 2007-2010 Wera was the Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate for Heywood and Middleton, the second constituency within Rochdale Borough Council and the constituency of her council ward.

Wera and William moved to Bath in 2014, and Wera immediately got involved in local politics. She stood against Jacob Rees-Mogg in North East Somerset in the 2015 General Election and from the beginning of 2016 was a lead member of the Bath 'Stronger In' campaign to keep Britain in the EU. After the referendum in 2016, Wera co-founded 'Bath for Europe' with like-minded pro-Europeans to organise demonstrations and events highlighting the benefits of the EU and the crucial role it has played for Britain's peace and prosperity. She was selected at the last minute to stand in the 2017 snap election, in which she convincingly beat the Conservative Ben Howlett by a majority of 5,694.

Wera sits on the Brexit Committee in Parliament. Under her remit as Spokesperson for Communities, Local Government and Refugees, she asked difficult questions of the government after the Grenfell Tower tragedy. In Bath she brought together key players to halt the demolition of social housing at Foxhill. She has been outspoken on issues such as the University of Bath Vice Chancellor’s pay package and cuts to school funding and other local services. She was responsible for the Liberal Democrats adopting the policy of building 100,00 social homes for rent every year.

Joining forces with campaigner Gina Martin, Wera was successful in changing the law to make upskirting a criminal offence in England. She is working to improve treatment for those suffering from eating disorders. She launched a petition that resulted in bringing a public-facing police station back to Bath. In early 2019, her remit changed and she took on the Justice and Environment and Climate Change portfolios for the Lib Dems.

Wera holds regular surgeries, is an active supporter of the arts in Bath, and is working to implement change on major challenges facing the city including transport and pollution and homelessness.

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