THE chief executive of a North-East quango has hit back at an MP who raised concerns about its management.

Frank Cook, Stockton North MP, has written to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, claiming Tees Valley Regeneration (TVR) may not have observed "proper standards of conduct".

He said he was worried about members' interests, appointment of board members and tendering processes for work with the urban regeneration company.

But TVR's chief executive Joe Docherty last night questioned why Mr Cook had not approached him about the matter.

He said: "The last time Mr Cook spoke publicly about TVR and its projects was on January 19 at the launch of the North Shore project (in Stockton) when, in front of an audience of media and invited VIPs, he said he was so delighted with the project he was like a 'dog with three tails'."

"Mr Cook has never contacted Tees Valley Regeneration, ever, about his concerns. In fact, at a recent meeting between us, not long before he wrote this letter, he did not raise the matter at all.

"I can give an assurance that we set very high standards for ourselves. I do not believe anything Mr Cook says means these standards should be called into question."

The five unitary authorities in the Tees Valley are shareholders in TVR and each contributes £50,000 to its running costs.

Redcar and Cleveland Council chief executive Colin Moore said he had considered resigning from TVR's board because of concerns about management, but now felt issues were being tackled.

Darlington Borough Council's acting chief executive, Paul Wildsmith, said: "We are happy to continue working with TVR to deliver what will be excellent regeneration projects for the Tees Valley."

Middlesbrough Council chief executive Jan Richmond declined to comment. The chief executives of Hartlepool and Stockton councils could not be contacted.

A spokesman for the deputy prime minister's office said officers had visited TVR and hoped to respond to Mr Cook's letter next week.