THE new MP for Darlington has used his maiden speech to continue his campaign to keep a historic engine in the town – and to offer the town's bell to ring out for Brexit on Friday.

Peter Gibson, the new Conservative MP for Darlington, was speaking last night in Parliament.

He used the occasion to talk about the campaign to keep Locomotion No 1, the engine which pulled the first passenger railway in 1825, in Darlington.

The campaign was launched last week in response to plans by the The National Railway Museum to move the engine to its redeveloped museum in Shildon.

Hailing the town as the birthplace of railways, he said: "Many will have read last week of the cultural vandalism seemingly imposed upon us, planning to relocate our most precious historical asset to another place.

"The retention of Locomotion 1 in our town is a fight I will continue with on behalf of the people of Darlington.

"It is no longer good enough for decisions about the north to be taken by quangos here in London with no consultation or consideration for the people that they affect."

He also pledged to continue to fight for a Great Burdon to A1 link and for services at Darlington Memorial Hospital and said devolution in the Tees Valley has re-invigorated the area.

He also paid tribute to some of Darlington's previous MPs, including his predecessor Jenny Chapman, who he described as a "passionate campaigner", who "stuck to her guns" on Brexit.

And he offered the town's clock tower to ring at 11pm on Friday.

He said: "I am told that the bell in our clock tower is in fact the sister bell to Big Ben.

"Mr Speaker, our clock and bell are in full working order, and I am quite sure will be able to act as a stand in for the 11pm slot this coming Friday should a substitute be needed."

Big Ben will not bong for Brexit on Friday after campaigners who had been fundraising to make it happen admitted defeat yesterday.

Mr Gibson said: "As a working class boy, educated in a comprehensive school in the north of England I never dared to dream that one day I would be elected as a conservative MP for a great northern town, watched from the gallery by my husband.

"It is a dream realised. an ambition fulfilled. Our country has changed and so too have these benches."