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."
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.
1st met Tony Benn Durham Miner's Gala in 70s. He said he didn't know there were young lawyers. We should sack some old judges & make room
So sad to hear of Tony Benn's passing True giant of British politics, inspiring us to hold true to our convictions Will be very sadly missed
The passing of a political legend. RIP Tony Benn. Principled radical, great orator but always decent polite and kind. http://t.co/myzpxYxqpm
The Northumberland Labour MP Ian Lavery has paid tribute to Tony Benn, as a politician and as a personal friend.
The MP for Wansbeck, who was once President of the National Union of Miners, said he was greatly saddened by the death.
Ed Miliband joined presenters Pam Royle and Kenny Toal in the studio to talk jobs, energy prices and the cost of living in the North East.
The Labour leader defended his commitment to the region, and the lack of North East MPs in his shadow cabinet.
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.
The new South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck, has visited the House of Commons for the first time to take her seat.Read the full story ›
Labour will suspend campaigning in the local elections until further notice following the death of Baroness Thatcher, senior party sources have told the Press Association.
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.
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: