EQUAL pay, the impact of Brexit on the region, and funding cuts to councils were discussed in what was often a heated debate during Question Time in Darlington last night.

The popular BBC programme was filmed in the Victorian Central Hall next to the Dolphin Centre, two hours ahead of being beamed to the nation at 10.45pm.

Hosted by David Dimbleby, the panel included Conservative energy minister Claire Perry MP, shadow foreign secretary and former human rights lawyer Emily Thornberry MP, businessman and co-chair of the pressure group Leave Means Leave Richard Tice, political columnist for the Times Rachel Sylvester, and broadcaster and author Terry Christian.

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The debate became heated at times, with Ms Perry telling Mr Christian he was 'very rude' for interrupting her.

And audience members, carefully selected by the programme to represent a cross-section of different political allegiances, asked about everything from what could be done to encourage more women to enter politics, to whether a projected 16 per cent decline in North-East economic growth was worth it for a hard Brexit.

While Mr Tice tried to argue the process of leaving the EU would be 'simple', Terry Christian snapped back: "Everything's simple when you're a bit simple."

Whether to allow Jamie Bulger murderer Jon Venables to maintain lifelong anonymity despite twice being convicted of possessing indecent images was also discussed.

And during a debate about the burden being placed on local authorities by the Government, one audience member suggested that the Dolphin Centre should be privatised and not subsidised by council funds.

Claire Perry also explained why she allegedly called those opposed to the Brexit bill 'swivel-eyed few', saying she made some comments in a private Whatsapp group and was just responding to claims her colleagues had been called 'traitors'.