SKIPTON'S MP Julian Smith has been accused of putting his party before his constituents after he voted with the Government to allow fracking under national parks.

Only four of Mr Smith's fellow Tories voted against the proposal to allow fracking for shale gas 1,200 metres below national parks and other protected sites, despite a previous Government pledge they would be protected from such ventures. Drilling rigs would still have to be outside protected areas.

A total of 298 MPs voted to allow the highly controversial drilling procedure, with 261 voting against.

The Government has been accused of doing a U-turn, while Mr Smith has been accused of "outrageous behaviour" in backing the Government when a poll earlier this year found 86 per cent of people in Yorkshire were against fracking.

Lisa Leddicoat, of Frack-Free Craven, said: "I am in despair at this vote, but I am not remotely surprised.

"Mr Smith almost always toes the Government line. It is outrageous behaviour when so many of his constituents are against fracking. And fracking in the US appears to be on the wane because it's not profitable enough."

The proposal has also been condemned by the Campaign for National Parks.

Its chief executive, Fiona Howie, said: "It is really disappointing, especially as Parliament was not given the chance to consider and discuss the concerns we have been raising."

Mr Smith said the focus had to be put on lowering bills for consumers and to do that meant looking at all sources of energy.

He added: "Anyone wanting to extract shale gas would have to meet stringent health and safety regulations."