CaptureJames Wharton MP, the minister responsible for the government’s Northern Powerhouse project, will be the guest speaker at the Institute of Directors’ Business Leaders’ Dinner.

The black-tie dinner takes place at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead hotel on 11 March.

James Wharton was first elected Conservative MP for Stockton South in 2010 and retained his seat in the 2015 General Election. The Durham University law graduate was appointed as Minister for Local Growth and the Northern Powerhouse at the Department for Communities and Local Government in May 2015.

Graham Robb, chairman of the IoD in the North East, said: “We are delighted to welcome James Wharton MP as our guest speaker and look forward to hearing his thoughts at this pivotal time for our region’s economy.

“The government deserves credit for its Northern Powerhouse initiative and for championing investment in our region’s transport infrastructure but now we need to hear more about exactly how devolved powers will benefit businesses in the North East.”

Also appearing at the black-tie dinner will be stand-up comedian Jo Caulfield and international singing star Beverly Savarin.

Jo Caulfield has entertained audiences across the world and her TV appearances include Live from the Apollo, Mock the Week, Have I Got News For You and Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow.

Partners for the dinner are the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead hotel, Microsoft and Square One Law. Tickets are £75 for members and £85 for non-members. To book a place, email iod.northeast@iod.com