AN MP has defended writing to the head caterers at the House of Commons to get Teesside's beloved parmo on the menu after being accused by a North East actress of failing to "read the room".

Matt Vickers MP for Stockton South sent a letter to the Parliamentary catering team asking to include the traditional Teesside delicacy on its list of culinary options.

But after tweeting the letter on Monday, he came under fire from large sections of social media, including from Teesside actress Jessica Daley, who said on Twitter: “I’m a parmo fan but read the room mate.”

The Teesside dish consists of a breaded cutlet of chicken or pork topped with a white béchamel sauce and cheese and is a takeaway favourite on Teesside.

Although some thought it was a good idea and support bringing the parmo to Westminster, many thought that it wasn’t the right time, with some citing child poverty, universal credit cuts and the fuel shortages as bigger and more current issues for the MP to focus on.

However, Mr Vickers has defended his tweet saying that he has been working very hard on work in his constituency such as fly tipping and pet theft.

Mr Vickers said: “Teesside is renowned for loads of great and historical things. One of the quirkier of these that is quintessentially Teesside has to be the parmo.

“Getting this into Parliament would be a great way to export a little bit of Teesside right into the heart of our democracy.

“I also plan to hold a competition to find the best parmo in Stockton. I’m sure that businesses would appreciate a bit of light relief and the chance to promote their restaurants after what has been an incredibly tough year.

“From Labour activists and ‘FBPE’ folk on social media, you’d think this is all I get up to.

“They very conveniently miss the fact that, amongst other things, I recently forced an amendment through Parliament securing extra protection for retail workers, as well as campaigning hard for stricter sentences for pet thieves and for real business rates reform to revive our high streets in my capacity as chair of the APPG on Retail.

“Locally, I’m constantly dealing with everything from crime to potholes to fly-tipping.

“Last week alone, I sent in excess of 311 letters and emails dealing with all sorts of matters that constituents raised with me, on Wednesday I’m holding a crime surgery to speak with constituents about an uptick of crime in part of my patch. I’m also scheduled to visit lots of local businesses to see how I can help them.”

“We’ve not had a single complaint from constituents in the inbox – only keen chefs interested in showing the canteen staff down South how to whip up a proper Teesside parmo.

“The best thing about these keyboard warriors blowing this up is that people are talking about Teesside again – and that’s always a good thing.”

Some of the local restaurants were in favour of getting a bit of Teesside, like the parmo, out there.

Craig Harker owner of the George Pub and Grill in Stockton said: “Well played Matt Vickers on trying to get a piece of Teesside on the menu in Parliament and giving a bit of acknowledgement to our Teesside dish.”

“Matt seems to be working hard for his constituents real problems so the fact he’s adding a bit of fun by bringing this up shows that he’s coping well with the massive task of improving Stockton South. I just hope he gets garlic mayo on the menu too.”

Another user Mark Davies wrote: “The Marie Antoinette of Teesside politics. ‘Let them eat Parmos’.”

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