Tory MP 'backed rival anti-wind farm candidate'

Reports that the Conservative MP running the party's by-election bid in Corby has been secretly filmed apparently supporting the campaign of a rival anti-wind farm candidate feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Guardian reports that Chris Heaton-Harris, who is campaign manager for the Tories in Corby, the constituency vacated by Louise Mensch, was recorded saying that he had encouraged an anti-wind farm candidate to join the election race against the Tories. The paper says the footage, covertly recorded by the environmental group Greenpeace, "captures the MP saying the independent anti-wind farm candidate, James Delingpole, had announced his candidacy as part of a ‘plan’ to ‘cause some hassle’ and drive the wind issue up the political agenda".

Energy minister John Hayes has insisted that no more onshore wind farms will be built beyond those already planned, the Telegraph reports. The paper says Hayes said it was "job done" in terms of onshore wind farms required to meet European Union renewable energy targets. The comments "will infuriate Ed Davey the energy secretary, who slapped down Mr Hayes after similar comments last month", according to the newspaper.

Writing in the Telegraph, Neil O'Brien, director of the Policy Exchange think-tank, says allowing northern cities to expand outwards could help ease the north-south divide. He says: "One way the north could compete more effectively with the south would be to give people the green places that they want to live in, and often can't afford in the south. But that would allowing cities to expand outwards, which planners oppose. NIMBYism in the rich south is chronic, which should give northern cities an advantage – if they're prepared to grab it."

The Times (subscription) reports
that heritage campaign group SAVE Britain’s Heritage has drawn up rival redevelopment plans for the historic Smithfield Market in central London. The paper says the group "hopes to challenge a plan put forward last month by Henderson Global Investors, the fund manager which owns the disused buildings".

The Guardian reports that councils in northern, urban cities and London boroughs with high levels of deprivation predominantly run by Labour "have seen their budgets cut by almost 10 times the amount lost by mostly Tory-administered authorities in rural southern England during the government's first spending round". The paper says that an analysis of figures provided by Newcastle City Council, reveals that the councils worst affected "included the poorest populations in Britain – such as the most deprived council in the country, Hackney, and struggling urban areas of the north such as Liverpool, Rochdale and South Tyneside." In contrast, the paper says, "the 50 councils least affected were those such as Wokingham, Richmond and Elmbridge – largely in the well-heeled south".

In an article in the Guardian’s Society section Paul Twivy, the former chief executive of the government-backed Big Society Network, explains why he resigned from the post. "It became rapidly very clear to me that big society suffered from a number of intractable problems" he says "It was seen as a figleaf for the shrinking state and spending cuts. Or as a cynical repackaging of the civic activity that has quietly kept British society intact for hundreds of years. It was party-political, ergo tribal and divisive. The farther away from London and the South East one went, the more toxic it became."

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