A FORMER Swindon councillor has found himself in hot water over a column he wrote more than ten years ago in the Adver.

Peter Heaton-Jones used to present the BBC Wiltshire Breakfast Show and write a column in the paper.

Last year, he stood down as an St Andrews councillor to fight to become the Conservative MP for North Devon, a predominantly rural constituency.

However, in a 2002 column in the Adver attacking pro-hunters he said the country should ignore the "chinless foxhunters, straw-sucking yokels and whingeing farmers".

He also said that people who don’t like the countryside should move into the town and implied rural-life was collapsing so people should get in “gas-guzzling four wheel drives and go to Tesco.”

In the column Mr Heaton-Jones also says he has had enough of whinging farmers and tells those complaining about milk prices to get another job if they cannot cope.

Opponents in the constituency, which is dominated by beef and dairy farmers, have leapt on the comments but speaking to the Western Morning News he said they were not his views and designed to provoke a reaction.

He said: "It's 13 years ago, all I can say about all of those columns at the time was that they had one purpose and that was to stir things up in a very different part of the world from North Devon.

"I suppose the best way to describe me was as a 'shock jock', if you like. That was my job at the time. I think it is fair to say what I was writing were not my views.

"It was no opinion piece. It was not an editorial. It was my persona as a controversial radio presenter to stir up debate and discussion and get the phones ringing on the radio show the next morning.

"I'm a big supporter of village shops and all the community services we need."