Come and see our ‘desolate’ region – fracking row peer invited to take part in Great North Run

The Rt Hon The Lord Howell of Guildford
The Rt Hon The Lord Howell of Guildford
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CONTROVERSIAL peer Lord Howell has been invited to take part in this year’s Great North Run to make up for his comments about the region.

George Osborne’s father-in-law sparked fury after he suggested the North East was a “desolate” place ripe for fracking.

Now race organisers say they have been asked to see if they can get Lord Howell to act as an honorary starter.

A spokesman for Nova – which organises the Newcastle to South Shields run – said: “In the light of the fracking publicity surrounding Lord Howell’s comments about the North East, we have received suggestions that he should visit the region to be official starter of the Great North Run and see how far wide of the mark he was in his ‘desolate’ description. It’s an interesting idea.”

Lord Howell of Guildford drew gasps of astonishment from the House of Lords when he suggested the controversial form of gas production could take place in the North East without having any impact on the surrounding environment.

He later apologised but felt the anger of MPs.

Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson said: “Lord Howell’s ill-informed and ignorant comments again show how little David Cameron’s Tories understand our region. When was the last time he actually visited the North East? He should come and see for himself the beautiful countryside and coastline we enjoy.”