Fracking pledge as Miliband hits town

Labour leader Ed Miliband speaks to shoppers and traders in Cleveleys.

Labour leader Ed Miliband speaks to shoppers and traders in Cleveleys.

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Supporters and hecklers alike greeted Labour leader Ed Miliband when he visited Cleveleys.

Mr Miliband was in the seaside town yesterday to campaign with his party’s local candidates ahead of Thursday’s Lancashire County Council election.

He spoke to traders and passers by on Victoria Road West before delivering a speech and holding a question and answer session with an assembled crowd – on issues including education, unemployment and fracking.

Speaking to The Gazette on the subject of fracking Mr Miliband said he was aware it was a controversial subject for Fylde coast voters.

He said: “I think we’ve got to look really carefully about this. There’s strong local feeling and we’ve got to look at, and investigate, the issue very seriously.”

Following revelations last week about the huge difference between the number of hotels up for sale in Blackpool and Brighton, Mr Miliband said he believes more investment is needed in the resort – but refused to be drawn on whether he believed there was presently an economic north-south divide.

He said: “There are disparities all across the country and we’ve got to do as much as we can to regenerate areas like Blackpool, but we’ve got to get the economy going first to do that.”

During his question and answer session Mr Miliband was heckled by a 44-year-old man, who said he had been jobless for four years and had a disabled wife to support.

Addressing him, Mr Miliband said: “There’s plenty of work to be done if we have the political will to do it. If elected Prime Minister I would get you working again and that’s a promise I’m making to you.”

Responding to Mr Miliband’s visit Paul Maynard, Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP, said: “Labour had their chance to regenerate Blackpool, but they failed by not giving us a casino nor giving us a plan B.

“Ed Miliband might promise one man a job, but his welfare policies will do nothing to get those who want to work back to work.”

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Thornton/Cleveleys candidates Amounderness

Richard Chapman (UKIP)

Alan Morgan (Lab)

John Shedwick (Con)

Thornton Cleveleys Central

Kevin Ronald Higginson (Lab)

Roy Graham Hopwood (UKIP)

Jim Lawrenson (Con)

Kevin Lee Morrison (TUSC)

Thornton Cleveleys North

Adrian Crutcher (UKIP)

Andrea Kay (Con)

Penny Martin (Lab)

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