RICHARD Holden, the North-East MP who told his constituents not to be 'litter tossers’, has been accused of hypocrisy after he was issued with a £100 fixed penalty notice – for littering.

The Conservative politician for North-West Durham was caught dropping a cigarette outside the election count at the Lousia Centre in Stanley on Saturday.

He had been there supporting Conservative Party candidates in the Durham County Council elections but had left the building to have a cigarette.

The Northern Echo understands he was spotted by a council warden dropping the butt onto the ground.

The charge was issued for the offence of littering.

Mr Holden, who was elected in 2019, and has posted pictures of himself on social media doing litter picking in Consett, was given ten days to pay or the charge increases to £150.

Ian Hoult, Durham County Council’s neighbourhood protection manager, said: “We can confirm one of our neighbourhood wardens observed two people littering outside the Louisa Centre, Stanley, during Saturday’s local election count and issued them both with fixed penalty notices.”

Last June, Mr Holden kicked off his #LockdownLitterpick campaign to encourage his constituents to keep towns and villages in North-West Durham tidy.

The Northern Echo:

North-West Durham MP on a litter pick in his constituency 

The Northern Echo:

Mr Holden speaks out against litter on Twitter 

Mr Holden met Orinoco from the Wombles, in Parliament as part of the Keep Britain Tidy campaign, and offered to go out litter picking with community groups in the area.

In June Mr Holden said: “It is totally unacceptable that some of our most beautiful areas and paths are left strewn with rubbish and waste.

“Residents are absolutely fed up of seeing people just dump used food containers, cans, bottles and food wrappers wherever they are.

“I’ll back enforcement action from the police wherever possible.

“More broadly, I’ve a clear message. Don’t be a litter tosser; just take it home.”

Neighbouring MP Kevan Jones, whose North Durham constituency covers Stanley accused Mr Holden of hypocrisy.

He said: “I take a dim view, along with most of my constituents, for him thinking it is okay to litter in Stanley, while preaching about littering in Consett.

“It very hypocritical of him lecturing others on picking up litter when he is doing it himself.

“I don’t why he thinks it is okay to do it in Stanley but not Consett. It is hypocrisy.

“It is clearly part of the national Conservative playbook to give the impression that he cares about the local community.

“Clearly his actions here show that he doesn’t.”

Councillor Carole Hampson, who sits on both Stanley Town Council and Durham County Council, was re-elected following a count at the Louisa Centre on Friday.

She said: “It is very hypocritical of him, especially as he has done the litter campaign.

“He should be setting an example but unfortunately he broke the law so he has the face the consequences.”

Mr Holden has been asked for a comment.