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Daventry MP filmed backing rival

Chris Heaton-Harris was secretly filmed by Greenpeace Photo: heatonharris.org.uk

Greenpeace has secretly filmed the Conservative MP for Daventry saying he asked a friend to stand against the Tories in the Corby by-election.

Chris Heaton-Harris who was running the Conservative campaign said he'd asked his friend, the journalist, James Delingpole to stand because of his opposition to wind farms.

Speaking to a Greenpeace activist posing as a wind power opponent last month, the Daventry MP said: "There's a bit of strategy behind what's going on.

"I'm running the Corby by-election for the Tories ... And Delingpole, who is my constituent, and a very good friend... put his head above the parapet but won't put his deposit down... It's just part of the plan."

During another slightly garbled exchange, Mr Heaton-Harris seems to confess that he put Mr Delingpole up to the stunt.

"Please don't tell anybody ever. But he will not be putting his deposit down. He just did it because it's a long campaign, it's six weeks to cause some hassle and get, and get people talking," he added.

In a statement last night, Mr Heaton-Harris said: "The quotes attributed to me range from factually correct statements to me bragging about things beyond my control, which has so often before been the failing of politicians.

"The implication that I choreographed any sort of 'secret plan' is simply not the case and I apologise if that is the impression given.

"It can hardly be said that my wanting to 'put this on the agenda' is new. I have spent years fighting on-shore wind, getting over 100 MPs to sign a letter to the Prime Minister, securing debates and raising questions in Parliament and touring the country speaking to anti-wind groups.

"It is a subject I am passionate about and will continue to work on until communities across my constituency, Northamptonshire and the country have the protection they deserve."

To see the Greenpeace video, click here.