A Teesside mayor has called language used by the Home Secretary to describe Stockton at PMQs yesterday (November 22) "childish" and "unprofessional."

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has today (November 23) said James Cleverly should apologise for "dragging Stockton's name through the mud" after he was accused of labelling it a 's**thole.'

He joins Labour MP for Stockton North, Alex Cunningham, who demanded an apology from the Braintree MP for the derogatory remark yesterday.

Mr Houchen said: “I’m not interested in excuses and I will always put our area above party politics, and it is clear to me that the Home Secretary should apologise for dragging Stockton’s name through the mud.

“Having made huge progress in recent years with major investment, thousands of jobs and Teesside forging a brighter future in the industries of the future including a new era of steelmaking, this type of language only furthers the outdated and inaccurate stereotypes we’ve battled for years.

“We’re a wonderful place and a passionate and proud community, and people across the world are looking at the exciting future that is emerging before us – but childish and unprofessional language used by Westminster politicians, who should know better, does nothing to help our plans to progress.”

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’.

“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.”

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

They said: “He did not say that, and would not.

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