Politicians across Swindon, and across the political spectrum, are agreed in their need for campaigning in the local elections to be positive.

A little too closely agreed for the tastes of some.

Conservative councillor Dale Heenan, who is standing in Covingham and Dorcan believes a posting he put on the Conservative ward councillors' Facebook page has been copied too closely by a Labour candidate, Bazil Solomon, standing in Liden, Eldene and Park South.

Coun Heenan posted on April 7: "I am running a positive campaign based on my track record of being visible, effective, and working year round, not just at election time. Each day I will post one example of where my local action, and my local campaigns have helped make a difference.Positive reasons to vote.

"These are local elections, not elections (sic). Please vote for me as the only local candidate, a strong voice for our area who gets things done and I will continue to work hard for you."

On April 8 Mr Solomon posted on his Facebook page a longer post, but which incorporated the words seen in Coun Heenan's post almost word for word.

It does not appear that he posted anything with those words before April 8.

Coun Heenan said: "I am trying to give people lots of positive reasons to vote, and I am glad both residents, and Labour candidates, like what I am doing.

"Imitation is said to be the sincerest form of flattery but I am genuinely surprised Bazil Solomon has done this because, as a lecturer doing a PhD on social media use, he will know that plagiarising another election campaign, and ripping off almost word for word something that you pass as your own, is not a good example to set."

Coun Heenan went on to criticise the Labour group's campaign as a whole: "For the first time, we are hearing voters across Swindon say that Labour candidates are copying what the Conservatives are doing and are adding their own spin simply to obtain a few more votes. Bazil has just been the most obvious about it. Seventy per cent of Labour's election pledges are simply reworded copies of what the Conservatives are already doing from protecting Green Open Space, to Libraries and town centre regeneration, even investing in Lydiard and Coate Water Country Park. Voters have low enough opinions of councillors and MPs without these kind of cynical tactics being used."

Mr Solomon, who is a Nythe Liden and Eldene parish councillor as well as a candidate in the borough elections denied simply lifting Coun Heenan's words for his own post.

He said: "I am a councillor in the area, and I work well with councillors from other parties. I know Dale Heenan and I work closely with Kevin Parry who is also a Conservative, despite me being Labour.

"We talk the same language, we use the same sort of words. We talk to each other. So we will use similar words and phrases, there's only so many ways you can express the same sort of things."

Mr Solomon added he thought it was more important that candidates were running broadly positive campaigns: "That's what matters, that we give voters reasons to vote for the candidates they want, not just attack each other and drag each other down."

Melanie Bailey for UKIP and Tom Smith for Labour are also standing in Covingham and Dorcan against Coun Heenan. Mr Solomon faces UKIP's Martin Costello, Zachary Hawson for the Conservatives and Krista Salmon for the Liberal Democrats in Liden, Eldene and Park South