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'Desolate' North East invites Tory for a visit

By Tom White

A Tory peer who branded the North East of England as "desolate" has been invited to visit the region and offered the chance to stay in a caravan.

Lord Howell of Guildford, George Osborne's father-in-law, said the controversial fracturing drilling technique could take place in the region due to there being large uninhabited areas.

But after his comments were strongly criticised, he issued an apology insisting he had not meant to insult the region.

The Peer has since received a number of invitations. A letter signed by Kate Priestley, chair of Northumberland Tourism, said: "On behalf of Northumberland Tourism, I would like to extend an invitation to Lord Howell to visit our beautiful county.

"I have no doubt that following his visit, he too would be loathe to recommend any action that would damage this little known jewel in England's crown."

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