A North East MP has said that he condemns the alleged 's**thole' comment directed at Stockton at PMQs yesterday.

Matt Vickers, MP for Stockton South, said he will be demanding an apology from Home Secretary James Cleverly if he made the comment.

Labour MP for Stockton North, Alex Cunningham, accused the Braintree MP of the comment and called on him to apologise, while Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has also condemned the slur.

Mr Vickers said: "I have only seen what others have seen and understand there’s some debate about what was said and by whom.

"I understand some have suggested it was a reference to Mr Cunningham’s failings as an MP rather than a place.

If such a slur has been made about Stockton North, it is offensive and plain wrong. I will be speaking to James Cleverly and if it is the case that he has cast such a slur on our town will be demanding an apology.

"Stockton is a place I’m proud to call home unlike the Labour candidate parachuted in from London.

"It’s an incredible place and the government is investing hugely in it.

"This week, thanks to the Conservative government, we secured £20millon to improve Billingham town centre, work is already underway building our new diagnostic hospital in Stockton town centre, we’ve seen £57.5 million pounds of investment in Stockton’s schools, we’ve got funding towards a new vocational skills centre, we’ve seen unprecedented investment in Billingham station and are about to see the same at Eaglescliffe station.

"People from Teesside will be able to get jobs in the UKs first and biggest Freeport and businesses are flocking to invest here as a result.

"I’m proud to be from Stockton, welcome the investment in it and will continue to fight for more."

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.

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“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.”