9 days after taking his seat in parliament, Andy McDonald has delivered his maiden speech in the Commons. As is usual on such occasions he paid tribute to his predecessor, Sir Stuart Bell, who died in mid October.
But Mr McDonald concentrated for the most part on the challenges facing his home town. He condemned politicians who characterised the unemployed as 'scrougers'. He called for more compassion in these difficult economic times.
More top news
County Durham's Samantha Lavery will go through to the Judges' Houses round of The X Factor competition thanks to a wildcard.
There was disappointment for Gateshead teacher Melissa Pedro as she left the ITV show during the Six Chair Challenge.
Read our football blog with Robert Nichols after Middlesbrough's home defeat to Tottenham Spurs.