A UK authorities minister has apologised after referring to Britain’s second-biggest metropolis and a outstanding Lancashire seaside resort as “godawful” on the identical day Boris Johnson gave a key coverage speech within the latter city. Heather Wheeler, a junior Cupboard Workplace minister, used the phrase to explain Birmingham and Blackpool throughout a know-how convention in London on Thursday.She has since apologised, saying the feedback didn’t mirror her actual views.However Labour has accused the federal government, which has positioned levelling up, the narrowing of the financial inequality of such coastal and post-industrial areas on the coronary heart of its home agenda, of conceitedness and disdain.Wheeler had been talking at an occasion in London to launch the federal government’s new digital technique, entitled The 2022 to 2025 Roadmap to a Digital Future. Within the preamble to her speech, she informed the viewers: “I used to be at a convention at, I dunno, Blackpool or Birmingham, someplace godawful,” earlier than telling an anecdote a couple of hiccup she had with a lectern on stage.On the identical day, the prime minister was in Blackpool giving a speech about plans to chop taxes and permit advantages claimants to purchase their very own social housing. The Conservatives are as a result of maintain their occasion convention in Birmingham in October and town is because of host the Commonwealth Video games this summer season. Chris Middleton, a know-how journalist, picked up Wheeler’s remark, earlier than posting a comment about it on Twitter. The gaffe was met with outrage from Labour. “Who the hell does Heather Wheeler assume she is?” mentioned Liam Byrne, a Labour MP who represents a part of Birmingham, including that the Tories had “slashed” public spending within the metropolis, creating poverty and unemployment.“For a authorities minister to then merely abuse Britain’s second metropolis weeks earlier than our Commonwealth Video games tells us every little thing you should find out about their boastful, out of contact, born to rule disdain for the guts of our nice nation.”Lisa Nandy, shadow levelling up secretary, mentioned: “This remark reveals the Conservatives’ true colors. It’s no marvel the Tories are failing so miserably to degree up our nice cities and cities if that is what they really assume.”Introduced up in south London and now an MP for South Derbyshire, Wheeler is presently parliamentary secretary for the Cupboard Workplace, a junior position that follows different ministerial positions within the International Workplace, Treasury and is in control of homelessness. As homelessness minister, she attracted criticism for saying she didn’t know why the variety of tough sleepers had risen. In a press release, Wheeler mentioned: “While talking at a convention on Thursday, I made an inappropriate comment that doesn’t mirror my precise view. I apologise for any offence triggered.”One authorities official mentioned: “I feel it was simply one thing a bit off the cuff as I’m positive you’ll be able to admire.”The Cupboard Workplace declined to remark.