STOCKTON South MP James Wharton was barred from visiting two local schools “because he was a Tory”, it has been revealed.
Pro-Labour head teachers refused to allow the newly-elected Conservative through the gates after he snatched the seat at the 2010 general election.
The revelation comes in a new profile of Mr Wharton, a rising Tory star whose highly-marginal constituency will be a key battleground at next year’s election.
Mr Wharton declined to identify the schools, but said the bans were no longer in place, adding: “I have good relationships with all schools in Stockton South.”
In the profile, the 30-year-old also calls for a penny to be cut off the 40p tax rate, paid by people who earn more than £41,866 in this financial year.
And he insists there is no reason why Labour should maintain its iron political grip on the North-East, where it holds 25 of the 29 Westminster seats.
Mr Wharton said: “Labour was the norm around here, so being a Tory was my teenage rebellion. I am the only Tory in the village.
“I meet people who vote Labour because it is what is expected of them, not because they believe. Tories here can start to think that the key to success is to look and sound like Labour.
“There is nothing particular about people in the North that makes them more inclined to back Labour. You have to convince people you believe in something,”
On tax, Mr Wharton said: “If it were up to me, I would have been tempted to cut the 40p rate to 39p, to send an important message that in difficult times we are doing what we can to help people who are working hard.”
The profile, in the Daily Telegraph, says the Stockton South MP was “sounded out” about taking over ultra–safe Thirsk and Malton, where Anne McIntosh has been deselected.
However, Mr Wharton will fight Stockton South again next year, where he will defend a wafer-thin majority of just 332.