The row over a comment from a Conservative peer that parts of the North East are "desolate" could actually help the region. That's the opinion of one of the people whose job is to attract visitors to Northumberland.
Northumberland Tourism Development Manager Jude Leitch said she wanted to thank Lord Howell for his comment, in a debate over fracking, because of the opportunity it had given people to sing the praises of the region.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has defended the North East after senior Conservative Peer Lord Howell said parts of the region were "desolate" and good areas for fracking for underground gas.
Mr Clegg said the North East could become a national hub for excellence in the new green economy. He said the region has some "profound economic and social challenges" but has huge promise as well, which had been recognised by investors like Nissan
Baroness Quin has just sent me an abridged copy of her letter to Lord Howell over his 'desolate' North East comments. In it she asks, "what were the 'desolate' and 'uninhabited' areas to which you were referring?"
"The North East's areas of population are fortunate in being surrounded by areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, whether it be the Northumberland National Park, the North Pennines, Teesdale or the North York Moors. These landscapes rival anything to be found in the UK."
"It would be good if you could assure me that you believe that all residents in the UK wherever they live should have equal rights to be consulted and have their views taken into account in proposals for energy exploitation and other measures."