Conservative MP apologizes for saying Birmingham and Blackpool are “evil”

A UK government minister has apologized after calling England’s second-largest city and one of the country’s best-known resorts “nasty”.

Heather Wheeler referred to Birmingham and Blackpool during the launch of the government’s new digital strategy on Thursday. According to Chris Middleton, a tech journalist who was at the launch, the junior minister in the cabinet office said, “I was just at a conference in Blackpool or Birmingham or somewhere great.”

He then said an official in the cabinet office called him after he first reported Wheeler’s comments saying it was a joke to break the ice.

Wheeler had been speaking at an event in London to launch the government’s new digital strategy, the 2022-2025 roadmap towards a digital future.

His statements came on the same day Boris Johnson was in the coastal city of Lancashire on plans to cut taxes and allow people with benefits and living in social housing to buy their own homes.

The government has proclaimed the leveling of areas outside London as one of the cornerstones of its political platform since it was elected in 2019.

However, leaders outside the capital have claimed that some promised investments have not been provided and that other funds have only been allocated to conservative seats.

One of the funds affected is the improvement of bus services in the “red wall” areas that went from Labor to the Conservative Party in 2019 and have poor levels of public transport. In January, however, government documents said funding had been halved from £ 3bn to £ 1.4bn.

Among the Labor MPs who criticized Wheeler’s comments was Deputy Leader Angela Rayner, who tweeted: “The mask has slipped. This minister has set out what Boris Johnson’s Conservatives really think about our communities in closed door.Respect is out of scale.

“Heather Wheeler has shown utter contempt for voters.”

Lisa Nandy, secretary of state for shadow leveling for housing, housing and communities and a Wigan MP, tweeted: “They tell us they’re leveling the country, but that’s what they really think. they know the difference between ‘Blackpool or Birmingham or somewhere great’.

Wheeler has been a Member of Parliament for South Derbyshire since 2010 and is Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet Office. He has previously apologized for comments about gypsies and travelers, and received criticism in 2018 when, as minister for the homeless, he said he did not know why the number of people sleeping poorly had increased.

He apologized on Friday evening, tweeting: “While speaking at a conference on Thursday, I made an inappropriate comment that does not reflect my actual opinion. I apologize for any offense caused.”

A Cabinet Office spokesman referred the Guardian to his tweet and made no comment.

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