I meant to say frack North-west, says Tory peer Lord Howell
George Osborne's father-in-law continues to court controversy with new remarks
Lord Howell, the Tory Peer, has admitted that he had made a mistake in his controversial remarks about fracking – only to clarify that when he said drilling should be carried out in the North-east he in fact meant the North-west of England.
Instead of rowing back on his comments made in the House of Lords earlier in the week, which he admitted had caused a "huge furore", the peer, George Osborne's father-in-law, is quoted as saying in The Daily Telegraph that fracking should "be far away from residences in unloved places that are not environmentally sensitive".
He goes on to lament the construction of wind farms "in sensitive places down in Sussex," according to the newspaper.
His comments are likely to be deemed insulting to people living in the north of England. On Tuesday he described north-east England as "desolate and uninhabited" landscapes that were suitable for fracking.
The chief executive of the fracking company Cuadrilla, which already operates in Lancashire, has pledged to continue with plans to explore for oil in the village of Balcombe, West Sussex, as the number of arrests linked to protests against the project hit 25 after a week of demonstrations. Francis Egan acknowledged that the protests had delayed his programme by several days but said he expected to begin drilling at the site by Friday.
Mr Egan also sought to appease protesters, saying that Cuadrilla has "no intention of ruining the countryside and won't ruin the countryside". His comments came as reports surfaced that Natalie Hynde – daughter of the Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde and Ray Davies of the Kinks – was among those arrested.
Ms Hynde had superglued herself to her boyfriend, the eco-warrior Simon "Sitting Bull" Medhurst, to form a "human lock" around the gate, which police are believed to have tackled with solvent. Mr Egan and politicians were scrambling to distance themselves from comments made on Tuesday by Lord Howell, George Osborne's father-in-law, suggesting that fracking should be confined to the "desolate" North-east of England where it would not have any impact on the surrounding environment.
"I live in the North-east of the country, and certainly from where I look, it's not desolate," Mr Egan said. "Our decisions are made on environmental assessments and going through a fairly rigorous process with the Environment Agency and the planning authority, and that really dictates where we can and can't operate."
The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg denounced Lord Howell's comments, saying he "strongly disagreed" with them. "Far from the North-east being desolate, it's one of the most beautiful parts of the country, with huge potential."
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 4 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...
£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...