Ed Miliband has made Lancashire a top target at this Spring’s elections.
The Labour leader told an audience of activists in Preston on Thursday night that he saw wrestling control of the county’s council from the Conservatives as “very important.”
The event at Preston North End’s Deepdale stadium launched the party’s official push to win power at County Hall in May’s poll.
Mr Miliband invited 300 non-party members to the event to listen to his plans.
He said: “It is a launch with a difference because the 300 people here tonight are 300 people who have come here they are not all Labour party members they have come from a series of conversations that began six months ago with 10 people who went out and talked to 10 people who went out and talk to a few more people and have brought them here.
“We have done that because we wanted a manifesto and a set of proposals based on a grass roots feeling in Lancashire and indeed in Preston.
“We are proposing to ensure jobs for young people, dignity for the elderly, cheaper fuel bills, improve public transport and the living wage but all those things come out of what people in Lancashire want.”
The leader was joined by Preston MP Mark Hendrick, Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle, the deputy speaker of the House of Commons, and Jennifer Mein, the leader of the Labour group on the county council.
He vowed the model of bringing non-members to launch events would be rolled out at all party launches until the general election in 2015.
Mr Miliband added: “It began here in Preston.
“Preston and Lancashire are leading the way on this, where Lancashire leads Britain follows.
“Lancashire is very important not only for the general election but It is important because this incredibly creative idea has started here.”
His visit came the day after his brother, David, announced he would be quitting the party to head the International Rescue Committee humanitarian charity in New York.
In 2010, he narrowly beat his brother in the election for leadership of the party, but vowed to bring him back should Labour win power at the next general election.
He said: “It is a definitely a loss to British politics and a loss and to the Labour party.
“But, he is doing something incredibly important and making a huge difference to people around the world.
“I don’t think we have seen the last of him and if I am Prime Minister want to use his talents.”