NONE of the relevant bodies appears to be offering a position, official or unofficial, on an expansion of Exmoor National Park, yet Ian Liddell-Grainger is already making clear his robust opposition (‘MP hits out over Exmoor rumours’, County Gazette, October 4).

He insists that “people living in the Quantocks are as happy about the idea as the Czechs were when the Germans marched in in 1939” and goes on to blame the National Park Service for a lack of affordable housing and few job opportunities.

The whole of Exmoor, he declares, is a “disaster”.

Unaffordable housing and poor job opportunities are hardly problems confined to West Somerset.

The Conservatives have had plenty of time in Government to find solutions.

This fulmination is little more than a diversion from embarrassing failures by his party at a national level.

However, Mr Liddell-Grainger is also clearly hoping to head-off any expansion proposals that may be recommended in the forthcoming Glover Review into National Parks and AONBs.

This attitude is regrettable. Seventy years ago, landowners and farmers around the Quantocks prevented a much larger park from being created, but today those landowners are mostly gone, and the number of people employed in agriculture is a fraction of what it was.

The number of stakeholders in the rural landscape, however, has vastly expanded and diversified. These are the people to whom Mr Liddell-Grainger should be listening.

READ MORE: MP hits out over Exmoor rumours

Bridgwater and Taunton could be gateway towns to a hugely expanded park, so that people actually stop on their way to Devon and Cornwall instead of speeding on past.

It is highly likely that new National Parks and AONBs will be created in the next few years - does Somerset want to miss out because things are fine they way they are?

There are pros and cons - there always are. But we need a debate on this.

People may wonder if a man who invokes Nazi Germany under these circumstances is the right person to lead it.