An alleged about face over the environmental impact of the controversial development on the Lodge Hill Site of Special Scientific Interest [SSSI] has returned to haunt UKIP Candidate and former Conservative MP for the area, Mark Reckless, in the Rochester and Strood by-election. The unfortunate reminder comes in the form of a US style “Attack Ad”, or rather a power point slide show with female voice over; issued by the Conservative Party and placed on the official Conservative Party Facebook site.
As thePipeLine reported previously Mr Reckless has made his opposition to the development of five thousand homes on the historic SSSI and former Ministry of Defence property a key stone in his campaign to win the seat for his new Party. However, as the Tory Party video suggests, it was soon pointed out by opponents that Mr Reckless had attacked the very environmental groups the stance of which he now professes to support, as he urged the Government to allow the local authority, Medway Council, to complete the development regardless of the opposition to the scheme on environmental grounds from organisations and agencies like Natural England. Mr Reckless even lobbied Planning Minister Nick Boles to this effect on the floor of the House of Commons in 2013 saying
“Will the Minister assure me that our local council will be able to decide where it is best for development to go, not Ministers or their inspectors, and still less these quangos?”
Of course it could all be academic. As Michael Crick reported for Channel 4 News, if the Conservatives win in Rochester and Strood the expenses of the Conservative Party may well end up being scrutinized in an Electoral Court.
However, judging from the production values on display in the video, the “Reckless Attack Ad’ ” will not have made too big a dent in Conservative Party coffers.
Voters go to the polls in Rochester and Strood on 20 November. This is a full list of the candidates standing
- Barker, Mike – Independent
- Challis, Christopher – Independent
- Davidson, Hairy Knorm – Official Monster Raving Loony Party
- Fransen, Jayda – Britain First
- Goldsbrough, Stephen William – Independent
- Gregory, Clive – Green Party
- Juby, Geoff – Liberal Democrats
- Khan, Naushabah – Labour
- Long, Nick – People Before Profit
- Osborn, Dave – Patriotic Socialist Party
- Reckless, Mark – UK Independence Party
- Rose, Charlotte – Independent
- Tolhurst, Kelly – Conservative