A Tory candidate’s call for his opponents to sign up to a clean campaign pledge has been rejected by opposition candidates.

Parliamentary candidates for Reading East have supported the idea of running a clean campaign but rejected the need to sign the pledge.

Craig Morley, Conservative candidate for Reading East, asked his Labour and Lib Dem contenders to sign a pledge to run a clean, positive and honest general election campaign based on facts and focused on local issues.

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Imogen Shepherd-DuBey, Lib Dem candidate for Reading East, responded: “I would love to see a decent, sensible campaign and would wish that to be the case for every election.

“But I am afraid I have not seen much of that from Craig Morley so far and I am not sure if he really understands what a ‘clean campaign’ means.

“When you look at his social media content, he has been making various personal attacks on a whole selection of people, including Matt Rodda and Gretta Thunberg.

“Sadly, this seems to be just another reason to get himself in the paper.”

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Labour candidate Matt Rodda said: “I will be running a clean campaign and I hope all parties will run clean campaigns.

“I am proud of and look forward to discussing my record as MP for Reading East.

“I have run a number of campaigns on issues that matter to local people, such as calling for Reading Gaol to become an arts hub, seeking better local bus services and running an anti-plastic bag campaign.

” I do not need to sign a pledge to run a campaign based on the issues.”

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Mr Morley, who described Mr Rodda as an “awful MP” a few months ago, called for candidates not to engage in personal attacks or smears on others.

He also wanted candidates to agree to be responsible for activists and councillors on their side of the political debate.

The Conservative candidate said: “People are sick of negative campaigning, smears and mudslinging.

“What has become clear over the past few years in particular is we’ve forgotten how to disagree well.

“Let’s stick to the facts and challenge each other on our policies. Not engage in personal attacks.”

A member of Matt Rodda’s campaign team criticised a tweet from Mr Morley of Jeremy Corbyn as a chicken, which has now been deleted, suggesting it was violation of his own campaign pledge.

The tweet was sent before the election was announced, however.

Reading Chronicle:

Mr Morley said it is “irrelevant as it was during the first round of votes on a general election.”