Labour leadership hopeful Owen Smith says that he would commit £50billion of investment in the North East if he was elected as prime minister.
Mr Smith was speaking on a visit to Durham’s County Hall as he prepares to face current Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The MP for Pontypridd told more than 50 members in the building’s council chamber that he fears for the future of Labour should Mr Corbyn stay on as leader and also slammed the Conservative Government for “leading the country out of the EU” and “jeopardising” investment in North East firms such as the Nissan car plant in Sunderland.
“We need a Labour government once more,” said Mr Smith.
“In the last nine months we’ve not been a powerful opposition to the Tories that have set about privatising the NHS, reducing investment in the North East, increasing class sizes, seeing industry disappear from this part of the world and lead us out of the European Union, jeapordising the investment of Nissan for example in Sunderland.
“I’m saying if you want a powerful opposition to the Tory government, if you want a Labour government in waiting, one that’s saying like I am saying for a British New Deal investing £50billion in the North East, if you want to see fairer taxes, bigger taxes on the millionaires in order to spend more money on the NHS and other public services you need a different leader of the Labour Party and I’m asking people to put their faith in me.”
In his speech Mr Smith also added that he wanted to put in place a “real” living wage for everyone over 18 and deliver better rights for workers.
He also heavily criticised Mr Corbyn’s leadership of the party over the past nine months.
“The party that we love is in a genuine crisis. A crisis of identity and what we are for and who we are serving," said Mr Smith.
“I don’t think Jeremy has provided many of the answers we need.
“I think he is a good politician who is good at asking the right questions but he’s not good at providing the answers.
“He misses the open goals too often.
“Our movement is a wide movement and the job of the leader is to hold that together. Jeremy has failed in that fundamental task.
“People say he has only had nine months, but with the Tory government we have, I don’t think we can wait another nine minutes.
“I was loyal to Jeremy, but I don’t think that he can lead us to victory.
“We could be consigned to history.”