CALLS have been made for candidates to sign up to a clean election campaign pledge after a row broke out over “petty name calling”.

Lib Dem candidate Martin Goss and Tory hopeful Will Quince have locked horns as the election campaign got underway.

Mr Goss has accused Mr Quince of “cowardice” for only confirming he will attend one hustings event at the Mercury big top next month.

So far five events have been organised across the town in the lead up to polling day.

Mr Goss said: “As MP for the past four years Mr Quince has developed a reputation for being one of the quietest MPs in the House of Commons, notably on Brexit where his flip-flopping saw him changing his mind but during all the debates this year not speaking once on the subject.

“And now, with a General Election where he should be speaking to the people of Colchester and answering questions at meetings, he has shown cowardice by refusing to turn up and explain his position on major events affecting Colchester, the country and internationally.”

But Mr Quince said he would attend any hustings events he could fit in around his campaigning.

He said: “I never stray away from speaking with residents.”

Mr Quince took to Twitter to address what he claims are “regular snipes” from Mr Goss over where he is from.

In a series of Tweets, which received support from Labour candidate Tina McKay, Mr Quince said he had lived in the Colchester for more than ten years.

Mr Quince said: “I am really disappointed Martin has taken that stance.

“This kind of petty name calling doesn’t have a place in politics in my opinion.

“It should be about the policies and who has a passion for our town and country.

“It is not about who can slate the other’s personality.

“I think what would be really good is to have a clean campaign pledge.

“I will criticise the council and the other parties but there is no need for it to get personal – calling people cowards or talking about where they live, their background or families.

“The public will make up their own minds.”

  • The candidates standing in Colchester on December 12 are: Mark Goacher (Green), Martin Goss (Lib Dem), Tina McKay (Lab) and Will Quince (Con)