The MP for Middlesbrough should apologise and resign after Tees Valley Combined Authority was “cleared” of corruption and illegality, a Conservative former minister has said.

Independent MP Andy McDonald had alleged that “truly shocking, industrial-scale corruption” had taken place in Teesside.

Tory MP Sir Simon Clarke said Mr McDonald made the accusations for “overtly political reasons” and called for him to resign after the publication of the Teesworks inquiry on Monday.

Read our full coverage of the Teesworks report HERE

Speaking in the Commons, Sir Simon, who is MP for neighbouring Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, said: “The honourable member for Middlesbrough, as my honourable friend has said, alleged, and I quote, ‘industrial-scale corruption’ in this House.

The Northern Echo: Sir Simon Clarke/Sir Simon Clarke/ (Image: PA)

“He did so for overtly political reasons which, sadly, from the opposition front bench, we have heard repeated today.

“Labour want Teesworks to fail.”

This was met with shouts of “nonsense” from the Labour MP for Stockton North, Alex Cunningham.

Sir Simon added: “The honourable member for Middlesbrough ought now to apologise to this House, and indeed to all of those who were named in this report and falsely accused by him.

“And does (the minister) agree with me that the member for Middlesbrough should resign for acting against the interest of the constituency that he serves and indeed the interest of the whole of the Tees Valley?”

Mr McDonald was not in the Commons for the statement, with Labour MP Ian Lavery (Wansbeck) saying he had had “serious surgery”.

The Northern Echo: Andy McDonald.Andy McDonald. (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

But the MP released a statement soon after branding the reporting 'damning' and calling for a follow-up inquiry by the National Audit Office.

McDonald said: “This report is absolutely damning and what is clear is there are massive concerns about governance and finance, oversight, scrutiny, value for money – all of the things that I have said over these years.

“The system is completely flawed and as a net result we have got the enrichment of a handful of businessmen making money hand over fist at no risk whatsoever. Where is the morality in that? Where is the value for money and due diligence? Are we really saying we are content with that?

“There are huge questions still to unravel from this report that they have been desperate to hang onto for so long.

“People are sick of the lack of candour, honesty, accountability and transparency and it’s got to change if we are going to recalibrate this country and that is why we now need the full National Audit Office inquiry.”

Communities minister Lee Rowley said Mr McDonald should withdraw his “incorrect” statements as soon as he is able to.

In his opening statement, Mr Rowley said: “This independent review has cleared the Tees Valley mayor and combined authority of lurid allegations of corruption and illegality.”

Later in the session, Conservative MP Peter Gibson (Darlington) said: “Those who have peddled damaging allegations should apologise.”

Another Tory, Sir Robert Goodwill (Scarborough and Whitby), said: “The member for Middlesbrough does have previous form in this issue.

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“First he ignored scientific evidence to try and prevent dredging in connection with a freeport development, and today we discover he has made vile, unfounded accusations of corruption and dishonesty levelled at the Tees Valley mayor (Ben Houchen).”

Mr Rowley replied: “The accusations which were levelled at this project are not true – it is beholden upon those in this place, when they get things wrong, that they say that.”

Mr McDonald, a former Labour member, was suspended in November over what the party said were “deeply offensive” comments at a pro-Palestine rally.