Cumbria

Tory MP 'loves' Penrith and Borders constituents

A Tory MP who suggested some of his constituents held up their trousers with string has defended his comments.

Rory Stewart has admitted he made the remark but said he wanted to illustrate the poverty the people of Penrith and the Borders had to live with.

He also said he "loved" the people and the area and was "trying to fight very hard for them".

Mr Stewart is challenging a Sunday Mirror headline which said he called his constituents "primitives".

He said: "There were some areas which were pretty primitive, and by that I mean that there are areas in which people are a very, very long way from resources, services, development.

"Of course I am sorry about the comment about twine, which was an attempt to try and illustrate that.

"But a lot of this is about trying to fight very hard for an area that I love and for people that I love and to make sure that we're not seen as a wealthy area."

Mr Stewart is threatening to complain to the Press Complaints Commission about the coverage of his comments in the Sunday Mirror.

He also said he was sorry if his remarks had upset his constituents.

On Sunday he wrote on his blog: "I meant that there are areas in Cumbria where people lack things, taken for granted in cities, and that these areas need more investment and more public services.

"It was never a judgement on people. I remain very sorry for any hurt that this misrepresentation may have caused."

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