Residents have been left offended following an alleged comment from the Home Secretary regarding their town.

Alex Cunningham, MP for Stockton North, accused Home Secretary James Cleverly of branding Stockton a 's**thole* at PMQs yesterday (November 22).

Mr Cunningham, along with fellow Labour candidates for his Teesside constituency, have demanded an apology from the Braintree MP for the derogatory remark.

Mr Cleverly's spokesperson denied that the politician made the comment and added he was disappointed to be accused of doing so.

The Northern Echo:

The comment was heard in the chamber after Mr Cunningham asked the Prime Minister why 34 per cent of children in Stockton North are living in poverty.

Making a point of order in the Commons later on Wednesday, Mr Cunningham, who represents Stockton North, said: “Before the Prime Minister answered, the Home Secretary chose to add in his pennyworth.

“Yes, I have contacted his office advising him I planned to name him, but sadly he has chosen not to be in the chamber.

“He was seen and heard to say ‘because it’s a s**thole’.

The Northern Echo:

“I know he is denying being the culprit, but the audio is clear and has been checked, and checked, and checked again.

“There is no doubt that these comments shame the Home Secretary, this rotten Government, and the Tory Party.

“He is clearly unfit for his high office.”

Mr Cleverly’s spokesman said: “He did not say that, and would not.

“He’s disappointed people would accuse him of doing so.”

The Echo spoke with residents on Stockton High Street this morning, with many of them left upset or disappointed by the slur.

The Northern Echo:

William Rogers, from Stockton, said the situation makes him and others worry for both the town and the North.

He said: "The Tory party doesn't think anything of the North East of England.

"[I feel] disgusted, they just don't care about us one iota."

The Northern Echo:

Lee Johnson, 47, who has lived in Stockton for four years, said: "It's just neglect. They're not just neglecting Stockton, Middlesbrough is in massive debt, bus services are horrific.

"I used to live in the South, I was born in Middlesbrough, the services, the gap is so wide. It doesn't surprise me that someone would say that.

"He probably doesn't live anywhere near this area, if he did, he'd probably take more care.

"Criticising somewhere where you don't allocate adequate funding, it's a redundant statement."

Margaret Agar, 76, from Hartburn, said the town is trying "really hard" and have made a lot of improvements, and cited the Waterfront Project as an example.

The Northern Echo:

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The Northern Echo:

"We want people to visit, and remarks like that, will put people off coming here. They'll think it's a down and out place and it isn't.

"It's not fair, it's putting a downer on us."

She believes the alleged comment was irresponsible and said it casts a shadow over the town, and has called for a public written apology.