THE CONSERVATIVES’ prospective candidate for Reading East says that the current incumbent “has been an awful MP” and blasted him for “spending little time helping local constituents”.
Craig Morley, who was selected by local party members on Friday, August 2, added that Matt Rodda – who was elected in the 2017 General Election – was also guilty of riding on the coattails of others when it came to campaigning.
In a statement, the former British diplomat, and father-of-two said: “I’m honoured and delighted to be selected to fight my home town seat.
“Corbyn’s man Matt Rodda has been an awful MP for Reading East, spending little time helping local constituents and attaching himself to others’ campaigns instead of working hard for the change people need locally.
“It’s not surprising when Rodda is so close to Momentum and the inept Labour Council in Reading.
“Reading Council something I had the misfortune to grow up under and has made people’s lives worse recently by hiking parking and car permit charging, wasting millions on the failed MRT, and failing to get their accounts signed off.”
Mr Morley said that he lived in Woodley – part of Wokingham Borough Council – and attended both Woodley CofE Primary School and Waingels Copse Secondary School (now Waingels College).
Reading East is one of the Conservatives key target seats in any forthcoming General Election.
Before Mr Rodda took the seat, it had been held by Rob Wilson, who in turn had snatched the seat from Labour’s then-candidate Jane Griffiths.
It has been a marginal seat for more than 20 years, but the seat winner has also indicated which party would govern.
Reading East is also a strong Remain area, and parts of the constituency are also Green party strongholds on Reading Borough Council. The parliamentary seat also contains parts of Earley and Woodley.
Mr Morley grew up in Reading and was chosen by the Conservatives, receiving more than half of the votes cast in the first ballot.
He added: “I’m here to fight for real change for the people of Reading East. The next General Election is an opportunity for constituents to vote for a fresh Conservative candidate, brimming with ideas, and committed to standing up for local people.
“My local priorities are tackling crime, getting the best Brexit deal for Reading East, and working to solve [Reading’s] transport issues – I will strongly oppose any move for congestion charging by [Reading] Council.”
Both Mr Morley’s parents grew up in council houses, and his mother has been disabled since he was a child. His dad was a police officer locally for many years.
When he was 15, Mr Morley worked in The Oracle’s Disney Store when it opened in 1999. After university, he spent two years in China. He has most recently worked for the Foreign Office where he was a senior diplomat in China.
He now advises the University of Oxford on its international strategy and plans to move to Reading East with his young family.
Matt Rodda was contacted for comment, but is on holiday. He will respond in next week’s Wokingham Paper.