MP James Wharton's handed 'northern powerhouse' ministerial role
Teesside MP James Wharton has been made the minister responsible for the "northern powerhouse" in Prime Minister David Cameron's ministerial reshuffle.
Mr Wharton, Conservative for Stockton South, will lead the effort to boost the economy of the North, at the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Mr Wharton won a majority of more than 5,000 in last week's general election.
He has represented the constituency since 2010 when he won a slender majority of 332. The seat had been a key Labour target.
As a backbencher, Mr Wharton spearheaded thwarted efforts to enshrine Mr Cameron's EU referendum promise in law.
Plans for a northern powerhouse were announced by Chancellor George Osborne last year and included a new HS3 high-speed rail link between Leeds and Manchester.
Mr Osborne said closing the economic gap between north and south would bring more than £18bn to the region by 2030.
Mr Cameron is due in Stockton later when he will visit the Tetley tea factory in Eaglescliffe.