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Labour Party calls UKIP 'more Tory than the Tories' after Mayor of Bishop Auckland defects

Councillor Colin Race Credit: Durham County Council

The Labour Party has responded to the Mayor of Bishop Auckland's decision to defected to the UK Independence Party.

They have said the people from the County Durham town will "rightly be questioning the decision" of Councillor Race:

On the day Nigel Farage confirmed his plans to privatise the NHS, people in Bishop Auckland will rightly be questioning the decision of one of their town councillors.

UKIP’s policies include another tax break for millionaires, higher taxes on working families, scrapping rights as at work and higher bankers’ bonuses.

They can’t be described as a party who will stand up for working people. In reality, they are more Tory than the Tories."

– Labour Spokesperson

Mayor of Bishop Auckland defects from Labour to UKIP

Councillor Colin Race Credit: Durham County Council

The Mayor of Bishop Auckland has defected from Labour to UKIP.

Councillor Colin Race, pictured above as on Durham County Council's website, confirmed his move to ITV Tyne Tees earlier this evening.

The announcement was made in a town council meeting today and UKIP tweeted the news shortly after:

Speaking of his move, Councillor Colin Race says the Labour party that he once knew "no longer exists".

Year-on-year it has become increasingly clear that Labour are neglecting voters and taking us all for granted.

The Labour Party that I once knew – the party that stuck up for the working families, is no more.

We have a cosy consensus of politicians in Westminster who spend more time patting each other on the back, than representing the people who pay their wages at the end of the month.

Here in the North East we have the highest rates of unemployment in the country, how are my kids meant to get a job when our political class support open door mass immigration from twenty-seven other EU member states?

– Cllr Race

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Family pay tribute to Newton Aycliffe man after fatal crash

Shane Smith

The family of a man who died when his car left the road and crashed in Bishop Auckland have paid tribute to him.

Shane Smith, 25, died when his blue Audi car crashed through a fence on Close House, Bishop Auckland, on January 10.

He suffered serious injuries and died at the scene.

Yesterday, his family paid tribute to Shane, from Newton Aycliffe.

"We are all devastated by the loss of our Shane. He was a gentle giant with a heart of gold.

"As a family our lives will never be the same as we will always have this awful emptiness. He should be here, cracking jokes as he always did. If there are any witnesses to this accident please contact the police. We need to know why it occurred and why our beautiful, happy, smiling Shane has been taken too young. RIP Shane, we love you to pieces and words cannot describe how much we will miss you."

– Family statement

Man rescued after car washes into the ford

A man was rescued from his car that was washed into the ford in Westgate, near Stanhope.

He was trapped yesterday evening, trying to cross the ford, because of the swollen river and strong currents.

Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service and a specialist Water Rescue Resource from Bishop Auckland freed him by using throw lines and a floating hose.

1,800-year-old Roman site up for sale in Co Durham

Students dig on the site at Binchester Roman Fort in 2013 Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA

One of the most important archaeological sites in the North East is up for sale.

Binchester Roman town near Bishop Auckland is being sold by the Church Commissioners. Auckland Castle Trust say they fear it may fall into the hands of developers and have put in a £2m bid to buy the site.

But the Church Commissioners say fears of development on the site are "a scare story" and it is protected not just by the landowner but by the County Council, English Heritage and the Secretary of State.

Binchester, just outside Bishop Auckland, has some of Britain's best-preserved Roman remains, including a bath house with seven-foot walls and painted plaster.

Last year a statue head, possibly of a Geordie Roman god, was found by an archaeology student helping with major excavation works that are being carried out.

Read More: Roman artefacts found in Bishop Auckland

The 1,800-year-old carved stone head of a possible Geordie Roman god, found in July 2013 Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA

The land where the settlement has stood for around 1,800 years is owned by the Church Commissioners. They are selling 10 plots around Bishop Auckland, including two adjoining ones which cover the Binchester site.

Although the Roman settlement itself could not be developed, an old hall on one of the plots could be, affecting access to the site. Selling the plots off separately could also hamper archaeologists' work.

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VIDEO: Tractor tyre fire seen from A1

Black smoke from a large tyre fire near Bishop Auckland could be seen from the A1 this afternoon.

An ITV Tyne Tees viewer filmed the fire at a farm in Lands Bank, Cockfield, before Durham Fire Service brought it under control.

Eight fire engines and almost 40 fire fighters were at the scene for hours after being called at around 1pm.

Five hundred tyres have been destroyed at a cost of £200,000. Fire crews managed to save the farmhouse.

500 tractor tyres ablaze at County Durham farm

500 tyres caught fire at a County Durham farm earlier today. Credit: County Durham & Darlington Fire & Rescue Service.

500 tyres, with an estimated value of £200,000, have been burning at a County Durham farm today.

Seven fire engines were called to Little Gordon Farm near the village of Cockfield at 12.53pm today (Wednesday 9th July).

Bishop Auckland tyre fire 'under control'

Tractor tyre fire at a farm near Bishop Auckland. Credit: @CDDFRS

Durham fire service have brought a tyre fire under control in Bishop Auckland.

Eight fire engines were called to a farm near Bishop Auckland at around 1pm.

Stuart Errington, deputy chief fire officer for County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service said: "Crews and control staff have done a fantastic job. The crews have worked hard to save the farm house from the fire.

"Their response was made very challenging due to water supplies in this very rural location, which is a long way from the hydrant.

"The crews have worked hard to overcome this initial difficulty and have worked quickly and effectively to bring this large fire under control."

Seven fire engines called to large fire at farm near Bishop Auckland

Firefighters found several tractor tyres alight. Credit: County Durham & Darlington Fire & Rescue Service.

Firefighters are battling a large fire at a farm near Bishop Auckland.

They were called to the scene at 12.53pm this afternoon (Wednesday 9th July). On arrival at Little Gordon Farm near the village of Cockfield, they found several tractor tyres alight.

38 firefighters and seven fire engines are currently battling the blaze. People in the vicinity have been warned to stop smoke entering buildings by keeping windows and doors shut.

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