Speaker intervenes in row over MP's visit to Hitachi site

The Northern Echo: Speaker intervenes in row over MP's visit to Hitachi site Speaker intervenes in row over MP's visit to Hitachi site

ABOVE PICTURE: James Wharton MP, third left, at the Hitachi site alongside Communities and Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis. Sharing the platform, from left, is Geoff Hunton, director of Merchant Place Developments, Neil Matthias, senior project manager for Shepherd, Darren Cumner, plant manager for Hitachi Rail Europe, and Paul Woolston, chairman of the North-East LEP

A NORTH-East MP was slapped down by the Commons Speaker in an extraordinary row about how long he visited a neighbouring constituency.

James Wharton, the Stockton South MP, was accused of a lack of “common sense”, after claiming the visit did not take place – because he merely “dropped off” a Government minister.

But The Northern Echo published a photograph of Mr Wharton alongside Brandon Lewis, the local government minister, at the site of the soon-to-open Hitachi Rail Europe train factory, in the Sedgefield constituency.

And an eye-witness at the event – to announce Government funding for new road and power services – estimated the Conservative MP was present for up to 25 minutes.

Westminster etiquette demands that MPs give advance notice of any official visit to another MP’s constituency – prompting Phil Wilson, Sedgefield’s Labour MP, to make a protest in the Commons.

Mr Wilson said: “It now appears, in the local media, that his role was more than that of a chauffeur - as the photographs suggest that he was an integral part of the visit.”

At first, Mr Wharton insisted he was simply Mr Lewis’s driver, asking: “Are honourable members obliged to inform other honourable members when they drive through, or drop people off, in their constituencies?”

But, he then switched tack, saying: “I did not stay throughout the full visit. I dropped him off, spoke briefly to the media, got a quick photograph and left before the visit was complete.”

John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, replied: “I do think that we should operate in a fashion informed by common sense.”

The Speaker said the issue of the length of a visit was “pretty immaterial”, adding: “If, in fact, he took part in the visit, I think he must know the logic of that.

“I appeal to members, particularly in this sensitive time in the run-up to a general election, to take care to observe, not merely the letter, but the spirit of the convention about prior notification.”

Speaking afterwards, Mr Wilson said: “The lesson here for James is that, when you are in a hole, stop digging.”

Mr Lewis went to the Hitachi site, in Newton Aycliffe, to promote the Government’s “local growth deals”, which promise to create up to 9,000 jobs across the North-East and Yorkshire.

Among the schemes getting taxpayers’ cash is the installation of a new road and power services to attract more businesses onto the Merchant Park development.

The site is the location for the Hitachi Rail Europe train factory, which will employ 730 people when it starts production in 2016, and could house suppliers, warehouses and a technical college.”

Comments (10)

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8:22am Wed 9 Jul 14

Auldgadgey says...

That's Janus Wharton to a T, he is just so two faced. Every good thing that happens he claims credit for, every bad thing, even if it is government policy, he blames Labour.
If the sun shines tomorrow he'll be there saying "What a clever boy am I"
Pathetic.
That's Janus Wharton to a T, he is just so two faced. Every good thing that happens he claims credit for, every bad thing, even if it is government policy, he blames Labour. If the sun shines tomorrow he'll be there saying "What a clever boy am I" Pathetic. Auldgadgey
  • Score: 19

10:19am Wed 9 Jul 14

Ron Carter-Bonsteel says...

ELECTION 2015 never see much of these MP's or Councillors until voting comes along they crawl out of the woodwork. Most are self-serving cretins who are so out of touch with reality. This is why the Country is in so much of a state the MP's are fighting between themselves one word Pathetic..
ELECTION 2015 never see much of these MP's or Councillors until voting comes along they crawl out of the woodwork. Most are self-serving cretins who are so out of touch with reality. This is why the Country is in so much of a state the MP's are fighting between themselves one word Pathetic.. Ron Carter-Bonsteel
  • Score: -5

12:04pm Wed 9 Jul 14

The Grim North says...

Auldgadgey wrote:
That's Janus Wharton to a T, he is just so two faced. Every good thing that happens he claims credit for, every bad thing, even if it is government policy, he blames Labour. If the sun shines tomorrow he'll be there saying "What a clever boy am I" Pathetic.
Typical politician then.
[quote][p][bold]Auldgadgey[/bold] wrote: That's Janus Wharton to a T, he is just so two faced. Every good thing that happens he claims credit for, every bad thing, even if it is government policy, he blames Labour. If the sun shines tomorrow he'll be there saying "What a clever boy am I" Pathetic.[/p][/quote]Typical politician then. The Grim North
  • Score: 1

12:26pm Wed 9 Jul 14

Ron Carter-Bonsteel says...

I must have upset a few MP's and councillors? I did say most MP's and councillors not all. But my comment stands and what puts people off like me voting for any party is they are self-serving NOT ALL. But that's what's great about posting a comment we can all agree to disagree.
I must have upset a few MP's and councillors? I did say most MP's and councillors not all. But my comment stands and what puts people off like me voting for any party is they are self-serving NOT ALL. But that's what's great about posting a comment we can all agree to disagree. Ron Carter-Bonsteel
  • Score: -1

1:07pm Wed 9 Jul 14

Ally F says...

Easy to spot Wharton as he still normally wears shorts and his school tie.
Easy to spot Wharton as he still normally wears shorts and his school tie. Ally F
  • Score: 2

1:25pm Wed 9 Jul 14

Auldgadgey says...

Have word with yourself RCB by not voting you are talking in a vacuum.
Might impress a few people, but does absolutely nothing.
The real danger is that you put everybody off having a say on who governs. Of course we could have a dictator who nobody voted for, then you would be shouting for a vote, from a prison cell probably.
Democracy is a terrible system, trouble is that the others are so much worse
Have word with yourself RCB by not voting you are talking in a vacuum. Might impress a few people, but does absolutely nothing. The real danger is that you put everybody off having a say on who governs. Of course we could have a dictator who nobody voted for, then you would be shouting for a vote, from a prison cell probably. Democracy is a terrible system, trouble is that the others are so much worse Auldgadgey
  • Score: 1

2:11pm Wed 9 Jul 14

Ron Carter-Bonsteel says...

Auldgadgey wrote:
Have word with yourself RCB by not voting you are talking in a vacuum.
Might impress a few people, but does absolutely nothing.
The real danger is that you put everybody off having a say on who governs. Of course we could have a dictator who nobody voted for, then you would be shouting for a vote, from a prison cell probably.
Democracy is a terrible system, trouble is that the others are so much worse
Don't talk to me about Democracy think you need to shake your head auldgadgey me put people off people? people are not voting in droves I live in Middlesbrough and the voting is always low. You tell me is our town any better for people voting? We are always bottom of the pile because of governments my dad and mam fought in the war for our freedoms as millions of others did and they would be turning in their graves now at the way Governments have treated the good people of this town I see it on daily basis and live it. Put my surname into Google and see what I have tried to do with my wife? We have dictators now THE GOVERNMENT.
[quote][p][bold]Auldgadgey[/bold] wrote: Have word with yourself RCB by not voting you are talking in a vacuum. Might impress a few people, but does absolutely nothing. The real danger is that you put everybody off having a say on who governs. Of course we could have a dictator who nobody voted for, then you would be shouting for a vote, from a prison cell probably. Democracy is a terrible system, trouble is that the others are so much worse[/p][/quote]Don't talk to me about Democracy think you need to shake your head auldgadgey me put people off people? people are not voting in droves I live in Middlesbrough and the voting is always low. You tell me is our town any better for people voting? We are always bottom of the pile because of governments my dad and mam fought in the war for our freedoms as millions of others did and they would be turning in their graves now at the way Governments have treated the good people of this town I see it on daily basis and live it. Put my surname into Google and see what I have tried to do with my wife? We have dictators now THE GOVERNMENT. Ron Carter-Bonsteel
  • Score: -3

5:46pm Wed 9 Jul 14

Got Ya says...

Ron Carter-Bonsteel wrote:
Auldgadgey wrote:
Have word with yourself RCB by not voting you are talking in a vacuum.
Might impress a few people, but does absolutely nothing.
The real danger is that you put everybody off having a say on who governs. Of course we could have a dictator who nobody voted for, then you would be shouting for a vote, from a prison cell probably.
Democracy is a terrible system, trouble is that the others are so much worse
Don't talk to me about Democracy think you need to shake your head auldgadgey me put people off people? people are not voting in droves I live in Middlesbrough and the voting is always low. You tell me is our town any better for people voting? We are always bottom of the pile because of governments my dad and mam fought in the war for our freedoms as millions of others did and they would be turning in their graves now at the way Governments have treated the good people of this town I see it on daily basis and live it. Put my surname into Google and see what I have tried to do with my wife? We have dictators now THE GOVERNMENT.
Which side were your mam and dad on in the war?
[quote][p][bold]Ron Carter-Bonsteel[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Auldgadgey[/bold] wrote: Have word with yourself RCB by not voting you are talking in a vacuum. Might impress a few people, but does absolutely nothing. The real danger is that you put everybody off having a say on who governs. Of course we could have a dictator who nobody voted for, then you would be shouting for a vote, from a prison cell probably. Democracy is a terrible system, trouble is that the others are so much worse[/p][/quote]Don't talk to me about Democracy think you need to shake your head auldgadgey me put people off people? people are not voting in droves I live in Middlesbrough and the voting is always low. You tell me is our town any better for people voting? We are always bottom of the pile because of governments my dad and mam fought in the war for our freedoms as millions of others did and they would be turning in their graves now at the way Governments have treated the good people of this town I see it on daily basis and live it. Put my surname into Google and see what I have tried to do with my wife? We have dictators now THE GOVERNMENT.[/p][/quote]Which side were your mam and dad on in the war? Got Ya
  • Score: 3

6:20pm Wed 9 Jul 14

Ron Carter-Bonsteel says...

A real joker at least my parents did not hide behind a computer Got ya.
like U a TROLL
A real joker at least my parents did not hide behind a computer Got ya. like U a TROLL Ron Carter-Bonsteel
  • Score: -2

8:13pm Wed 9 Jul 14

Got Ya says...

Ron Carter-Bonsteel wrote:
A real joker at least my parents did not hide behind a computer Got ya.
like U a TROLL
No need to be abusive Ron.........it was a genuine question because it wasn't clear in your post.
Your parents must have had a few bob if they had a computer during the war.
[quote][p][bold]Ron Carter-Bonsteel[/bold] wrote: A real joker at least my parents did not hide behind a computer Got ya. like U a TROLL[/p][/quote]No need to be abusive Ron.........it was a genuine question because it wasn't clear in your post. Your parents must have had a few bob if they had a computer during the war. Got Ya
  • Score: 2
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