Mayor Dorothy Thornhill has defended her campaign for Watford MP as "far from struggling" after launching an "ambitious £5,000 crowd funding" appeal.

But her opponents said she's resorted to "passing the begging bowl round".

The town's Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate said it wasn't a level playing field as donations for her party did not compare with resources the Labour Party or Tories have access to.

In a letter to her supporters, Mayor Thornhill said the Conservatives can "rely on millionaire donors" and Labour is funded by "donations from unions".

She wrote: "The Conservatives are targeting a large amount of resources - many residents got a letter from David Cameron - provided to them by their 'dodgy donors', at this seat to try and win it.

"It's sad that it is still the case, in this day and age, that people will try and buy an election.

"I am determined to stop that happening, which is why my team and I have today launched this new fundraising campaign.

"Labour are funded by huge donations from unions. The Conservatives rely on large sums being given to them by millionaire donors. We are doing things differently."

Mayor Thornhill said Watford's General Election would be very tight and the £5,000 was needed for leaflets, letters and phone calls to key voters.

She said: "This is not a level playing field. Some donors tend to put money where they perceive power and their vested interests. With this campaign we are hoping to appeal to ordinary people like us.

"We are far from struggling. We just don't get the donations the Conservatives of Labour do, but this election we have been lucky to have received donations from people I have never even clocked eyes on - which is really encouraging.

"We are trying something different with the crowd funding, lots of people just want to give £5 and we have seen how effective this form is when people collect for charities."

However, Labour's Parliamentary candidate for Watford, Matt Turmaine, said the move was nothing new or innovative.

He said: "This sounds like they're just passing the begging bowl round."