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Lib Dem MP for Wells quits as aide over fracking

Tessa Munt has quit her job as aide to Vince Cable after voting against the Government on fracking Credit: PA

The MP for Wells has quit her job as parliamentary aide to Business Secretary Vince Cable after voting against the Government on fracking.

Liberal Democrat Tessa Munt had said she intended to stay on, despite backing calls to suspend the controversial technique but a spokesperson for the Cabinet minister says her resignation has been accepted.

Ms Munt said she had restated her opposition to fracking, adding: "I am unwilling to compromise and cannot change my opposition to fracking.

"I will continue to campaign vocally against fracking and as result it is clear that my views cannot be reconciled with the Government on this matter.

"I will continue to defend and represent this beautiful part of Somerset, its residents, businesses with all the enthusiasm and energy that I have had since May 2010 when I became the Member.

"My campaign to stop fracking in Somerset continues."

"Tessa Munt has resigned from her position as parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to Vince Cable.

Both the Secretary of State for Business and the Deputy Prime Minister thank Tessa for the work she has done in government but understand her strength of feeling on this issue and have, therefore, accepted her resignation."

– Spokesperson for Vince Cable

Wells MP quits job as aide to Vince Cable over fracking

Tessa Munt has quit her job as aide to Vince Cable after voting against the Government on fracking Credit: PA

The MP for Wells has quit her job as parliamentary aide to Business Secretary Vince Cable after voting against the Government on fracking.

Liberal Democrat Tessa Munt had said she intended to stay on, despite backing calls to suspend the controversial technique but a spokesperson for the Cabinet minister says her resignation has been accepted.

Tessa Munt has resigned from her position as parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to Vince Cable.

Both the Secretary of State for Business and the Deputy Prime Minister thank Tessa for the work she has done in government but understand her strength of feeling on this issue and have, therefore, accepted her resignation.

– Spokesperson for Vince Cable

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Bath Council leader expresses fracking concerns

The Roman Baths at night Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

The Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council has written to the Government expressing concern at the potential damage to Bath’s natural Hot Springs from fracking in the Mendips.

Councillor Paul Crossley has written to Energy Minister, Michael Fallon MP, to express the Council’s concerns about the process and the possible damage to the supply of water to Bath Hot Springs and the impact on Bath’s major tourist attraction.

He urged the Government to review its decision to grant a one-year extension to potentially explore and extract unconventional gas.

In his letter Cllr Crossley said: “The springs are the life blood of this city, which is cherished worldwide. In economic terms, the city and region rely heavily on a tourist industry which is worth an estimated £380m annually to Bath alone and which employs 10,000 people"

Anti fracking campaigners claim that the process can lead to pollution of the water table which could threaten the supply to the Hot Springs from the Mendips.

Fracking debate hots up in the west

Groups opposed to fracking - the controversial technique of drilling for gas - have described a government incentive as "bribery". Further licences to explore in parts of the West could be issued later this year - in addition to one area of Somerset already identified.

Today the Prime Minister said councils that allow fracking will now be able to keep all the associated business rates as well as other benefits. Our political correspondent Bob Constantine reports from Westminster.

Balcombe fracking protests could come to Somerset

Could the West be the latest battleground over fracking - the controversial procedure for extracting gas from solid rock.

Protesters around the region have joined demonstrations at Balcombe in West Sussex where it's feared test drilling may be about to take place.

But supporters of fracking say we have nothing to fear from the process.

Our Somerset Correspondent David Woodland reports:

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Anti-fracking group 'not taking action' on second day

Anti-fracking campaign group No Dash For Gas said they have no plans for a second day of action, although groups of people may protest outside the drilling site in Balcombe, West Sussex.

Today we are not taking action.

We are having meetings and deciding what to do next. But we will be coming back, it is not a sprint, it's a marathon.

– Ewa Jasiewicz, No Dash For Gas

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Anti-fracking protesters turn out for a second day

Environmental activists slow down a lorry heading to the Cuadrilla exploratory drilling site in Balcombe, West Sussex. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

Protesters, including from Somerset, have turned out for a second day of direct action at a drilling site in Balcombe in West Sussex, demonstrating against fracking.

The Green Party MP Caroline Lucas was among more than 30 people arrested when anti-fracking campaigners staged a series of protests around the country on Monday.