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Tories accused of breaking spending rules in Clacton by-election

The Clacton by-election, 2014 Credit: ITV Anglia

The Conservative party is facing questions over allegations it failed to declare tens of thousands of pounds spent on 2014 by-elections, including the election in Clacton.

According to electoral rules, each party is allowed to spend £100,000 on campaigning in a by-election.

But Channel 4 News says it found bills totalling £26,786 in Clacton which would have taken the Tories £10,835 over the limit.

It's claimed the party also broke electoral rules in two other campaigns - Newark and Rochester and Strood.

Channel 4 News says it uncovered £56,866 of undeclared hotel bills in Rochester, which would have taken the party £53,659 over the spending limit.

In Newark it found bills totalling £10,459 in Newark, which would have meant a £6,650 overspend.

The Tories defeated UKIP in Newark, but went on to lose the other two by-elections.

A party spokeswoman said: "All by-election spending has been correctly recorded in accordance with the law."

Ukip's Clacton MP Douglas Carswell told Channel 4 News: "It's shocking ... It's simply intolerable. You have to have a law to make sure you don't have unfair advantage.

"We need to look at whether the Electoral Commission should have the right powers. I will certainly be raising it (with the commission)."

Consultation starts on plans to improve cycling in Suffolk

People living in Waveney have the opportunity to comment on a new strategy to improve the local cycle network.

Published for public consultation this week, the draft Cycle Strategy identifies existing issues with cycling routes across the area and proposes potential improvements, aiming to encourage more people to cycle.

Comments are welcome on any cycling issues along with suggestions for ways in which these issues could be resolved.

This feedback will then contribute towards the creation of a more integrated cycle network.

The consultation closes on 15 March 2016.

More details can be found here.

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VIDEO: Police investigating crowd clash at Essex derby

Police are investigating crowd trouble which occurred at the Essex derby between Southend and Colchester on Saturday.

Footage filmed by a supporter at the game, shows a fan running towards the stand occupied by Colchester United fans.

It appears to show him throwing punches at people in the crowd. The incident took place towards the end of the League One match at Southend's Roots Hall. Police are keen to identify those responsible.

The derby was a dramatic affair on and off the pitch.

The U's will have to cope without midfielder Alex Gilbey for their next three games after he was shown a straight red card for that challenge on Ryan Leonard.

Southend scored three goals in the last ten minutes to secure a three-nil victory over their local rivals.

Stallholders on Cambridge market face rent hike

Cambridge market. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

Market traders in Cambridge have urged councillors to re-think plans to raise rents for their pitches.

The city council insists it would bring prices into line with other markets and should only effect about a third of the 100 licence holders.

But stallholders are warning it could hit their trade and make every day more of a struggle.

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Police investigating crowd trouble at Essex derby match

Roots Hall. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

Police are investigating crowd trouble at the Essex football derby between Southend and Colchester on Saturday.

Footage filmed by a supporter at the game shows a fan running towards the stand occupied by Colchester United fans and apparently throwing punches.

The incident took place towards the end of the League One match at Southend's Roots Hall.

Prime Minister asks Northamptonshire prison for 'secret' to transforming inmates' lives

David Cameron at HMP Onley. Credit: Christopher Furlong/PA Wire

The Prime Minister has visited one of the region's top prisons where he was told ex-convicts needed more support once they had been released.

David Cameron talked to prisoners and staff at HMP Onley on the Northamptonshire border.

He asked for "the secret" of transforming inmates into contributing members of society once they leave jail.

It comes on a day the government unveiled a sweeping programme of prison reforms.

Suffolk singer Lil Chris asked for help on the day of his death

Former Rock School star Lil Chris called mental health services for help on the day of his death, an inquest heard today.

Chris Hardman was found dead at his home in Lowestoft last March at the age of just 24.

The singer had been receiving treatment for depression and had spoken openly about struggling with his mental health after his music career failed to live up to its early promise.

His family said they hoped their tragedy would encourage more openness about the condition.

Serena Sandhu reports.

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