Prime Minister David Cameron has described Northumberland as a jewel in Great Britain’s crown – or has he?
As we reported on our website on Friday, Mr Cameron was apparently speaking about the county as part of English Tourism Week, which ran from Saturday, March 5, to Sunday, March 13.
He said: "I love Northumberland. From Hadrian's Wall to Europe’s biggest sky park, this county is one of the many jewels in Great Britain’s crown. It's no wonder it attracts over nine million day visits every year."
But as revealed by the Yorkshire Post, also published by our parent company Johnston Press, it appears that this was just one of many 'love letters' sent out to newspapers across the country by the Prime Minister’s PR team.
In an editorial leader, Tom Richmond, the Post's comment editor, wrote: 'And then the insincere – some would say sham – nature of this media operation became clear'.
He went on to cite several examples of papers who had published comments which started with 'I love' Cornwall/Lincolnshire/Northumberland, etc.
And the familiar pattern did not end there. On Northumberland, the PM said: "From Hadrian’s Wall to Europe’s biggest sky park, this county is one of the many jewels in Great Britain's crown."
Contrast this with Cornwall: "From their stunning beaches and coastal walks to their creative arts projects, this county is one of the many jewels in Great Britain’s crown."
And Lincolnshire: "From the quaint market towns to the rolling countryside, this county is one of the many jewels in Great Britain’s crown."
In the piece, Cameron added that tourism created jobs, including 13,000 in Northumberland, so it was important that the benefits were spread evenly across the country.