UKIP have launched their North East campaign today (Thursday) in Newcastle.
It is the first time the party will challenge in every constituency in the area.
UKIP say their business friendly policies would make a big difference to an area with the highest unemployment rate in the country, but admit that they have a tough fight in the North East.
Jonathan Arnott MEP, UKP
Stewart Hay, Conservative, Roberta Blackman-Woods, Labour, and Frank Hindle, Liberal Democrats, respond to the UKIP campaign, which was launched in Newcastle today (Thursday).
UK Independence Party Leader Nigel Farage has set his sights on Hartlepool for a North East breakthrough.
The party leader is in the region this weekend, commencing February 7th for his party’s North East conference.
The party has had some success in the region in 2013 when they came second in a by-election in South Shields.
Mr Farage has previously told the Hartlepool Mail that, the town is “the best place” to gain a regional breakthrough and that “Hartlepool is very, very interesting. Watch Hartlepool. It is an interesting seat for us in 2015.”
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:
The secretary of the Redcar UKIP branch faces being expelled from the party after she posted derogatory remarks about the media coverage of the racist murder of teenager Stephen Lawrence.
Pamela Preedy wrote in a UKIP online forum last year that the image of the murdered teenager has been "promoted to sainthood".
The party's North East chairman has launched a full investigation into the comments which he says entirely contradict UKIP's policies.
Rachel Bullock reports.
Richard Elvin, the regional chairman of the UK Independence Party says a branch secretary may be stripped of her party membership after she made derogatory remarks about the murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence.
Pamela Preedy is secretary of UKIP's Redcar and Cleveland branch. Last year on an online UKIP forum she said: "the image of Stephen Lawrence has been promoted to sainthood " She also accused David Cameron of "worshipping at the shrine of Saint Stephen".
Mr Elvin told ITV Ms Preedy's views absolutely contradict UKIP's policies, he condemns them and has apologised to the Lawrence family.
Redcar and Cleveland's UKIP secretary Pamela Preedy is caught up in a racism row over remarks about Stephen Lawrence. Mr Lawrence was murdered in 1993 and his family have fought for justice ever since.
A conversation on a UK Independence Party internal forum around the 20th anniversary of Stephen Lawrence's murder last year, which Pamela Preedy took part in, has been uncovered.
PAMELA PREEDY SAID:
"It is absolutely true that the image of Stephen Lawrence has been promoted to sainthood."
"In Monday's news, there was Cameron and other high politicos worshipping at the shrine of Saint Stephen as they stood before his picture for a minute's silence."
"His death is supposed to have changed Britain, revealing how we are all institutionally racist etc. Please give it a rest! I'm sure that Stephen was an ordinary boy with all the typical virtues and flaws of any teenage human being, not a saint in the making."
"I'm sure that his mother still grieves for him, but it's time she did it privately without setting him up as some kind of media icon. She risks losing any sympathy for her cause (getting the other three killers in jail presumably) and boring us all to tears."
"Poor Stephen; he didn't deserve his awful death and he doesn't deserve his name being endlessly touted around like this either."
Councillor Mark Chatburn, who represents Yarm and Kirklevington on Stockton Council, has defected from the Conservatives to join UKIP.
The UK Independence Party says its popularity is growing in the North East after unveiling three new council members in South Shields.
The former independent councillors were welcomed by the deputy leader of UKIP, Paul Nuttall.
It comes after the party finished second, after Labour, in the town's by-election last month.
Three former Independent councillors on South Tyneside Council have joined UKIP.
The party's deputy leader Paul Nutall welcomed the new members with a speech on the steps of South Shields Town Hall.
UKIP now becomes the official opposition to Labour on the council following a recent by-election where it came second overall with almost 25% of the vote.
It has emerged that police are investigating an allegation of postal vote fraud by UKIP
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said officers are investigating a report of alleged electoral fraud in the Cowpen area of Blyth, Northumberland.
Detective Inspector David Brown said: "We can confirm that we have received a complaint of possible postal vote fraud in the Cowpen.
"We are in the early stages of the investigation and enquiries are ongoing."