The farcical tragicomedy of Tory MP James Wharton’s blundering tenure as minister for the so-called ‘Northern Powerhouse’ knows no bounds – his latest cack-handed attempt at damage limitation as Teesside’s steel industry collapses is a bizarre boycott of his local daily paper.
Whining Wharton, last week branded “an absolute clown” by Middlesbrough FC owner Steve Gibson, has launched a one-man campaign against the Northern Echo – the same paper which welcomed his appointment as Northern Powerhouse minister as a positive move – alleging “unduly pro-Labour reporting”.
An balanced editorial in today’s edition of the only English paper with “Northern” in its name outlines the Tory’s repeated refusal to offer comment for articles – and goes as far as defending him over Gibson’s comments. Despite this, the Stockton South MP ranted on his Facebook page:
I am attacked by them more than any local Labour MP seems to be. They have even gone so far as to crop me out of photos and leave my name out of stories referencing every other local MP – perhaps because I am the only Conservative MP in this area?
Unfortunately for Wharton, his hysterical claim that the Echo are deliberately cropping him out of pictures was quickly debunked on Twitter. The offending crop was a consequence not of petty editorialising…but the settings on a picture gallery.
— Jon Stone (@joncstone) October 26, 2015
Northern Echo editor Peter Barron writes in his leader:
In my view, it is important that The Northern Echo’s readers know that, when articles relating to Mr Wharton don’t include a comment from him, it has never been for the want of trying.
In the meantime, crybaby Wharton has instead responded to the thousands of job losses at the SSI plant in Redcar by…
- Calling the collapse of the steel industry a “tragic distraction” from the Tories’ sparkling record in government
- Snubbing a Commons debate on the issue to attend a business dinner
- Saying of northern job losses that they were “not my responsibility”
- Tweeting an inane selfie on the day job losses announced
- Dismissing rally on local jobs as just people “stood on a beach”
No wonder he doesn’t want to speak to the papers…