“Straw sucking yokels and whingeing farmers”

A Conservative candidate in one of the South West’s most rural constituencies once derided the countryside as populated by “chinless foxhunters, straw-sucking yokels and whingeing farmers”.

In a newspaper column, Peter Heaton-Jones, a would-be MP in North Devon and former BBC DJ, launched an attack on the huge countryside march through central London in 2002, arguing if rural life is “so bad” they should “move to the town”.

Mr Heaton-Jones today said the series of articles he wrote for the Evening Advertiser newspaper in Swindon were designed to provoke a response as a “shock jock” on BBC Wiltshire Sound’s breakfast show, and were “not my views”.

North Devon, which is dominated by dairy and beef farming, is one of 14 Liberal Democrat-held seats in the South West that the Tories are targeting.”