THE campaign exploded into life in the normally sleepy village of Whalley this week as Tory candidate Nigel Evans discovered the downside of having been the MP for 23 years.

The issue of housing developments in the Ribble Valley produced the sort of passion and heckling missing from the politics in recent years.

Mr Evans response to the crisis engulfing the constituency’s green fields was branded ‘pathetic’ and he was accused of ignoring the issue as government inspectors waved through homes.




The meeting at the Methodist Church organised by the ‘Save Whalley Village Action Group’ was reminiscent of the disorderly debates of the 1980s.

UKIP’s Shirley Parkinson accused Mr Evans of ‘empty promises’ while the Independent Political Alliance’s Tony Johnson spoke of ‘a bonanza for house builders’.

Green candidate Graham Sowter said the Conservative party was ‘in the pockets of housebuilders’ whileLabour’s David Hinder branded planning in Ribble Valley ‘chaos’.



Mr Evans fought the good fight agreeing if all he had done was present a petition to Parliament his response would have been ‘rather pathetic’.

But he said the Bill he had introduced to strengthen councils’ ability to resist developments was being considered by ministers.

Mr Evans pledged he would fight to stop ‘Barrow and Whalley being conjoined in any shape of form’ and detailed how he had tackled Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles on the issue several times.

Mr Evans said: “It was refreshing to see this election campaign generating excitement.”