Education Secretary Michael Gove got a dressing down from a local MP today for singling out east Durham as "lacking ambition" in a conference speech.
He told the London event that all students should be able to achieve five good grades at GCSE, but there was a problem of ambition in certain traditional communities such as east Durham.
But angry Easington Labour MP Grahame Morris said the comments were "an insult to every parent, teacher and child in East Durham who is striving to improve standards and grades.
"The only culture of low expectation that exists is within this government. It has turned its back on the children of east Durham, for example, by pulling the funding for the new Seaham School of Technology."
He added: "Instead of making speeches he should be facing parents to explain why he has diverted money into his free school pet projects."