LABOUR'S candidate for Hexham pledged to be an 'MP for the high street', following the proposed closure of a large business in town.

Joe Morris, the Labour candidate for the Hexham constituency, said the potential closure of M&S on Maiden's Walk represents ‘another example of the decline this area has seen’ under the Conservative government.

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Mr Morris said: "Marks and Spencer's Hexham store closing is a blow to Hexham and Tynedale and is another example of the decline that this area has seen in the last 14 years of Conservative government.

"Shoppers have lost choice, and there is real concern over the future of the site. I used to walk through Hexham and see a thriving high street, but now it’s peppered with empty shop fronts."

READ MORE: Hexham's M&S proposes to close store

"Not only are flagship stores like M&S closing, but we’ve seen smaller businesses shut too. The Tories have failed to support struggling high street businesses with the massive changes in consumer habits - failing to bring forward the review of business rates they promised in their last manifesto.

"High streets are how towns across our constituency present themselves to visitors and tourists. They drive the tourism that supports much of the economy along Hadrian’s Wall and bring visitors to the area.

"Unfortunately, the Conservatives in Northumberland have failed to support the retail sector properly. If I’m sent to Parliament to be the first ever Labour MP for this constituency, I’ll prioritise fighting for our high streets.

"Labour has already pledged to scrap business rates and to replace it with a system fit for the future. I’ll champion good retail workers and practices and stand up against predatory parking companies that damage local businesses and limit consumer choice. I’ll be an MP who will fight for every high street - standing up for businesses and workers across Tynedale and Ponteland."

Hexham MP Guy Opperman and Northumberland County Council were contacted for comment.