The minister responsible for the so-called ‘Northern Powerhouse’ has attempted to play down the death of the steel industry on Teesside as a “tragic distraction” from the government’s agenda.
The remark on the closure of the SSI steel plant — with the loss of at least 1,700 jobs — is the latest in a series of gaffes by the Thatcherite, whose own constituency is affected by the crisis:
- 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” (below)
They were just "stood on a beach" << Tory minister describes rally of 2,000 people trying to save their jobs (AUDIO) https://t.co/rdHvcvzQwo
— Political Scrapbook (@PSbook) September 28, 2015
Wharton was slammed by another local MP for his speech at the ‘Northern Powerhouse Breakfast’ in Durham this morning — with claims that he hadn’t even bothered to mentioned the steel industry:
At Northern Powerhouse breakfast listening to James Wharton. Totally meaningless waffle and not a single word in his speech about SSI
— Andy McDonald (@AndyMcDonaldMP) October 16, 2015
Scrapbook hears McDonald walked out of the meeting in disgust.