The Labour Party leader Ed Miliband referred directly to people in the North East in his speech at the party conference in Brighton. He said the Conservative peer Lord Howell's comments earlier this year, which called the region "desolate", were an example of "the Tory mask slipping."
"In one casual aside, [he] dismissed one whole region of the country. Let's tell these Tories about the North East of England - and every other part of Britain. People go out to work, they love their kids, they care for their families, they look out for each other, they are proud of their communities. They hope for the future.
"The Tories call them inhabitants of "desolate" areas. We call them our friends, our neighbours, the heroes of our country."
Ed Miliband has said the "door was open" for his brother David to return to front line politics but he has taken the decision to take on a new role based in New York. The Labour leader said his brother will be "serving the world" with his new charity position:
Labour Leader Ed Miliband has said he is "delighted" for his brother David, who has announced he will be stepping down as MP to take a new role at a charity based in New York.
In a statement he said: "Having spoken to him a lot over the past few months, I know how long and hard he thought about this before deciding to take up the offer. I also know how enthusiastic he is about the potential this job provides...
"As for us, we went through a difficult leadership contest but time has helped to heal that. I will miss him. But although he is moving to America, I know he will always be there to offer support and advice when I need it.
"British politics will be a poorer place without David. But his huge talents will be serving people around the world. I hope and believe that at some point in the future he can once again make a contribution to British public life."
He said: "As you know, I see every day the damage this shocking government is doing to our country, and passionately want to see Labour back in power.
"After the leadership election, I felt I could be most helpful to the party on the front line, in South Shields and around the country, rather than on the front bench in Parliament.
"I felt this gave Ed the space and at the same time the support he needed to lead the party without distraction. He has done so with real success, leading a united team that has taken the fight to the Tories.
"I am very pleased and proud that our shared goal of making this a one-term government is achievable."
The brother of Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband is to step down as an MP to take up a charity role in New York, it was reported tonight. The former foreign secretary, David Miliband, who went to school in Leeds will announce the move tomorrow, the Daily Mirror said.
There had been widespread rumours that he was set for a return to the opposition front bench, with his sibling insisting recently that "the door is open". But instead he is expected to quit UK politics altogether, triggering a by-election in his South Shields seat.