HARTLEPOOL’S MP has called for a debate in parliament over a damning article about the town in an international publication.
MP Iain Wright says he believes “lazy journalism” by The Economist could scupper Hartlepool’s chances of attracting potential investors from around the globe to the town.
So in a bid to discuss the issue, he stood up and pushed for a debate in the House of Commons yesterday.
Mr Wright told the Mail: “It’s a really important issue. There’s great potential in this town and we’ve got huge promise when it comes to modern manufacturing.
“What worries me is that a potential investor will look at The Economist and reject Hartlepool as a town for investment purely as a result of seeing that article.
“The idea that we could be losing out and that a potential business deal doesn’t even get past the first hurdle into in depth analysis and research is very worrying.
“I think it’s really important and that’s why I wanted to flag it.”
He added: “Hartlepool is a fantastic place for investment, it’s full of promise and potential, it’s people are great and we are open for business.”
The article was written by Oxford University graduate Daniel Knowles with a separate leader column penned by a nameless colleague.
They were written after the journalist visited a section of the town for one day, on Monday, October 7, and suggested that the Government should financially turn its back on Hartlepool and instead help people to move away from the town or help with commuting to places were there are jobs.
Mr Wright added: “What the journalist wanted to say was prejudged. you can’t get a proper feel for a place in a few hours.
“Why didn’t he go and have a chat with Heerema, JDR Cables, Hart Biologicals, or the Power Station?
“Yes, Hartlepool has it’s problems, but it’s full of promise.
“Articles like this are lazy and I worry that it will undermine investment.
“We will fall at the first hurdle because of lazy journalism like this.”
In the Commons Mr Wright said: “May we have a debate on the issue so that we can reject that ridiculous notion and highlight the promise and potential of my area, or would such a debate merely confirm that the Government have already abandoned areas such as Hartlepool?
Deputy Leader of the House Tom Brake replied: “I assure the hon. Gentleman that this is a matter on which there is agreement.
“No one wants to abandon any towns or cities, and that is why the Government have invested as heavily as we have in the regional growth fund to ensure that jobs in the private sector are there.
“We want to work constructively with him on that issue”