ANTI-FRACKING campaigners ambushed Conservative parliamentary candidate Will Gallagher and visiting former Transport Secretary Chris Grayling in Chester.

The two men were on the campaign trail in Upton on Thursday – but local protesters led by Labour councillor Matt Bryan got wind of the visit.

It comes after Mr Gallagher told the Leader he was against fracking in the city and pledged to stand shoulder to shoulder with campaigners.

He said: “I know what a controversial issue fracking has been in the city, and I understand the anxiety many residents – particularly in Upton – have about the issue.

“That’s why, in this first week of the campaign, I want to make my view crystal clear: I do not support fracking in Chester.”

Protesters accused Mr Grayling of being an outspoken supporter of fracking. In 2013 the then Justice Secretary reportedly said fracking was the solution to high energy bills in the country.

In an interview with the Leader yesterday, he accused Labour of painting him as a vocal pro-fracker.

“I can’t remember saying very much about fracking over the years,” he said.

Cllr Bryan, who represents Upton ward, said: “Mr Gallagher was the private adviser of Mr Grayling who is a staunch advocate of fracking so either Mr Gallagher’s advice is so weak he’s been ignored or he’s telling porkies about being opposed to it. The sheer audacity of inviting this man to our ward considering our fight and ongoing battle is breath-taking.”