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 James Wharton, 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”
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