The “rough end of a pineapple” should be used to encourage officials to reopen a raft of the New Forest's campsites, an MP told colleagues.

Conservative politician and New Forest West representative Sir Desmond Swayne bemoaned Camping in the Forest’s (CITF) decision to keep its sites closed for the rest of 2020, including 10 in the New Forest.

Speaking in the Commons on Wednesday, Sir Desmond told Chancellor Rishi Sunak: “It would be a great shame if the effectiveness of his measures were to be undermined in the New Forest with the loss of £16 million at least to local traders by the company to whom the Forestry Commission handed a monopoly refusing to open its camp sites.

“Will he summon Forestry England and threaten them with the rough end of a pineapple and instruct them to use their position on the board and their substantial shareholding to get those campsites open?”

Mr Sunak replied: “I share his passion for getting our campsites open. Hopefully an extra incentive today will be the cut in VAT from 20% to 5%, which extends to campsites as well as caravan sites, B&Bs and hotels.

“I’m not sure I have the power to summon anyone but I will be delighted to bring whatever influence I can to bear on his particular matter and look forward to discussing it with him further.”

As reported, New Forest District Council leader Cllr Barry Rickman warned that the closure of Camping in the Forest's sites, which include most of the district's major campsites, campsites could cost the local economy £16m.

"Our estimate of the impact on the local economy from lost discretionary guest expenditure (50% occupancy of 3,105 pitches over the 87 days between 4th July and 28th September) is a 'conservative' £16 million," said a statement by Cllr Rickman.

"If you then add the cost of the associated loss of local employment, supply chain costs, their own revenue (a large proportion also spent locally by their staff) it's a staggeringly large figure."

In a statement issued on June 24 CITF confirmed that all its sites across the UK, including those in the Forest, would stay shut until next summer.

It added: "It has been an extremely difficult decision to make and followed a careful review that considered many different factors but concluded that it is not viable to re-open the campsites from a safety, operational and financial perspective for the remainder of this year."