Tory Lord Howell has apologised for "any offence caused" by his comments about fracking, and insisted he did not believe the north east was "desolate".
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The constituency of Washington and Sunderland West includes the UK's largest car plant, which was opened by Nissan in 1984.
This seat was formed prior to the 2010 General Election, taking in Sunderland city centre and the Ryhope area to the south.
The constituency of Stockton South includes relatively affluent areas like Yarm and Eaglescliffe.