Tory minister apologises for calling Birmingham and Blackpool “godawful”

A Tory minister has apologised after calling Birmingham and Blackpool “godawful”.

Heather Wheeler MP’s remarks came on the same day that the Prime Minister visited the Lancashire seaside town to announce new policies, including extending the right to buy to housing association tenants.

According to technology journalist Chris Middleton, the MP for South Derbyshire was at an event in London announcing the government’s new digital strategy when she said: “I was at a conference in Blackpool or Birmingham or somewhere godawful…”

After tweeting about her comments, Mr Middleton said he received a phone call from someone from the Cabinet Office explaining that her remark had “been meant as a joke to break the ice and establish rapport with her audience”.

But Mr Middleton said her words had been “horribly misjudged”.

Wheeler apologised in a post on Twitter on Friday evening, writing: “Whilst speaking at a conference on Thursday, I made an inappropriate remark that does not reflect my actual view. I apologise for any offence caused.”

Her comments came as Boris Johnson was in Blackpool to give a 37-minute address unveiling new measures to ease the cost of living crisis in a bid to reset his leadership following the no confidence vote on Monday.

Labour MP Lisa Nandy, the shadow secretary of state for levelling up, said Wheeler’s comments were “clueless and offensive”.

“They tell us they’re levelling up the country but this is what they truly think,” she wrote on Twitter.

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