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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

North East Labour Party figures pay tribute to Tony Benn

North East Labour figures including the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird and the MPs Andy McDonald, who represents Middlesbrough, and Grahame Morris, who represents Easington, have all paid tribute to Tony Benn on Twitter.

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Ed Miliband talks about the North East in Brighton

The Labour leader Ed Miliband spoke directly to North East voters in his speech to the party's conference.

He said the Tory mask had slipped, when a Conservative peer called the region 'desolate' earlier this year.

Mr Miliband said, people in the region are some of the country's heroes.

He also made a surprise promise to freeze energy prices for almost two years, if Labour win the next election. Our Political Correspondent Paul Brand watched the speech in Brighton.

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Blair: Thatcher 'was kind and generous spirited'

Former PM Tony Blair has paid tribute to Lady Thatcher:

“Margaret Thatcher was a towering political figure.

Very few leaders get to change not only the political landscape of their country but of the world. Margaret was such a leader. Her global impact was vast.

And some of the changes she made in Britain were, in certain respects at least, retained by the 1997 Labour Government, and came to be implemented by governments around the world.

As a person she was kind and generous spirited and was always immensely supportive to me as Prime Minister although we came from opposite sides of politics.

Even if you disagreed with her as I did on certain issues and occasionally strongly, you could not disrespect her character or her contribution to Britain’s national life.

She will be sadly missed.

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Miliband: 'Politics will be a poorer place without David'

Labour leader Ed Miliband has said British politics will be a "poorer place" following his brother David's decision to step down as an MP.

The former foreign secretary, and the elder of the Miliband brothers, announced this morning that he will be moving to New York to become head of a US-based charity.

ITV News political correspondent Alex Forrest reports:

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