The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary, Hilary Benn, left, greets an enthusiastic supporter during a
recent visit to Petersfield
Hilary Benn, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary, has signed off the final documentation required for the South Downs to become a National Park.
While many agree wholeheartedly that the unique landscape should be protected from overdevelopment, there are a number who are left dumbfounded by the argument for National Park status put forward by Mr Benn.
Walter Proofs, from the South Down’s Society, has long advocated that the priceless downland landscape with its native heathers, beetles and moths, desperately needs protection - but this is very different from the controversial argument put forward by Mr Benn.
Mr Benn maintains that on one visit to Harting Down, he saw a tiger, a leopard and was nearly killed by a charging white rhinoceros.
Challenged regarding these extraordinary sightings Mr Benn retorted: "I recommend that any doubters visit my tailor in Chapel Street, Petersfield. Any of you can be kitted out in khaki walking attire and matching pith helmet.
"You will then be given access to the more exciting parts of the park through the tailor’s special changing rooms.
"I know it sounds incredible, but you really must give it a go. I even saw some amazing coloured submarines having a battle in Petersfield Lake."
As if by magic, one of Mr Benn's advisors appeared, wearing a bow tie and matching waistcoat and fez, and ushered the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary through a door from where he suddenly reappeared in the House of Commons.