THE MP who accused the Home Secretary of calling his constituency a “s**thole” has said he does not accept the apology offered by James Cleverly.

The incident occurred during last week’s Prime Minister’s Questions after Alex Cunningham, Labour MP for Stockton North, asked Rishi Sunak why 34% of the children in his constituency were living in poverty.

However, before Sunak began to answer, the MP said a voice from the Tory benches could be heard saying “because it's a s**t hole”.

Cunningham then accused Cleverly of making the comment.

The Home Secretary initially denied saying anything but later issued an apology for using “unparliamentary language”, claiming he had been calling Cunningham a “s**t”.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday afternoon Cunningham criticised Cleverly for his refusal to admit to calling the town of Stockton-on-Tees in the northeast of England as “s**thole”.

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“It is extremely sad that the Home Secretary doesn’t have the guts to admit to his appalling remark made about my Stockton North constituency from the frontbench and apologise to the people I have the privilege of representing,” he said.

“There was quite the chain of events last week. After I raised the matter on the floor of the House the Home Secretary first denied he had said anything at all.

“The government then sent out the Tory party chairman to tell the media that no words had been uttered from the Treasury bench.

“Next up, the Leader of the House who said she’d been told by the Home Secretary [that] he didn’t say anything and she believed him.

“She didn’t help matter by referring to Billington instead of Billingham. Clearly, he took them both for fools as he later admitted his foul language but tried to limit the damage to his reputation by claiming his remark was aimed at me.

The National: James Cleverly maintains that he did not criticise the constituency of Stockton NorthJames Cleverly maintains that he did not criticise the constituency of Stockton North

“Well, that’s all right then. But it’s untrue and it’s been shown to be untrue.”

Cunningham was then interrupted by the Deputy Speaker who asked him to withdraw his accusation that the Home Secretary said something “untrue”.

Cunningham then said that the Home Secretary had “mis-advertently misled people across the country in relation to this particular matter”.

He continued: “People take notice of the things the Home Secretary says and his talking down of Stockton and Teeside can have consequences.

“He may have whispered in your ear, Madame Deputy Speaker, but can you advise me if you’ve got any powers to order the Home Secretary to return to the dispatch box and apologise in person for insulting Stockton rather than hide behind the half-truths uttered on his behalf by an official."

James Cleverly then responded to Cunningham’s claims but refused to admit to calling Stockton-on-Tees a “s**thole”.

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He said: “For the avoidance of doubt the Honourable Gentleman accused me of making derogatory remarks about his constituency and my response issued through my office was that I did not, would not and would never make such comments about his constituency.

“What I said was a comment about him.”

Cunningham then shouted, “That’s all right, then!” across the chamber.

Cleverly continued: “My apology for was using unparliamentary language. I know what I said, I rejected the accusation that I criticised his constituency.”

Following claims by the Deputy Speaker that Cleverly had now apologised to Cunningham, the MP responded: “I don’t actually require any apology for an insult against me because it didn’t happen.

“But he has not apologised to me, he has not apologised to the people of my constituency. He’s apologised for using unparliamentary language.”

The Deputy Speaker then said she considered the matter closed.