In 1918, the sitting Tory Ernest Gardner was opposed by C S Edgerley, who was described as a “government contractor”. He had applied for exemption from military service in 1916 and his case was adjourned “for further details relating to a badge”. According to the Reading Mercury, “He calls himself Labour-coalition unofficial.” In 1939, he was imprisoned for forgery relating to the purchase of elm trees. It was stated he had made £100,000 during the war, which he squandered.
In 1922 and 1923, the Liberal candidate was C B Crisp, the founder of the Anglo-Russian Trust. In 1912, he had arranged a loan to China despite official opposition. He left the Liberals in 1924 over their attitude to the government’s Russian trade treaty and stood for Labour.