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Blair denies saying Miliband can't lead Labour to victory

Tony Blair has denied the claims. Credit: PA

Tony Blair has denied saying Ed Miliband cannot lead Labour to victory at the General Election because he has "failed to connect with voters".

The Daily Telegraph claimed the former prime minister had told friends privately of his concerns.

The paper quoted a source as saying :"The Conservatives will be the next government because Labour has failed to make a good case for itself. That is what Tony thinks."

But Blair's office were quick to dismiss the alleged quotes and tweeted that the story "does not represent my view".

It added: "Ed Miliband and the Labour Party can and will win the next election."

  1. National

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont resigns

Labour leader Ed Miliband and Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Leader of the Scottish Labour Party Johann Lamont has resigned.

A Labour source said: "She realised it was time for a change in Scotland. She has put the party first. Ed regards her as an honourable woman who has served party well and we hope will serve the party again in the future."

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Talks 'Constructive' says Lord Smith

Talks began today in Edinburgh. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Speaking after convening the first cross-party talks on more powers for the Scottish Parliament, Lord Smith said:

“I was pleased with our meeting today. We have good people round the table, each with their own deeply held views, who have committed to work together to achieve a positive outcome to this process.''

“We had a constructive discussion and agreed some important principles, which will guide us towards an agreement on a package of substantial and cohesive new powers to strengthen the Scottish Parliament within the UK.”

– Lord Smith

MP's debate the future of West Cumberland Hospital

West Cumberland Hospital Credit: ITV News Border

The future of services at West Cumberland Hospital will be discussed in Parliament tonight.

Workington MP Sir Tony Cunningham's opening the debate, which comes after a public meeting at Whitehaven rugby league ground last month drew around four thousand people. Campaigners are concerned about some services at the hospital being downgraded, and others moved to Carlisle.

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Lord Smith confident an agreement can be reached

An all-party agreement on new powers for the Scottish parliament will be reached. That's the message from the man appointed by the Prime Minister to lead moves to deliver promises made in the independence referendum.

On a visit to the Borders, Lord Smith of Kelvin urged voters in the south of Scotland to give him their views - so it's not just politicians shaping Scotland's future.

Our Political Editor Peter MacMahon caught up with Lord Smith on his fact-finding trip across Scotland and has this exclusive report.

Sturgeon confirmed as SNP leader

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been confirmed as the new leader of the SNP.

She will replace Alex Salmond, who announced he was stepping down after Scotland rejected independence in last month's referendum. The 44-year-old was the only person to have put her name forward as a candidate.

The current deputy first minister has said she still wants to see an independent Scotland but, for now, has other priorities.

  1. National

Nicola Sturgeon will be new SNP leader, party confirms

Nicola Sturgeon will be the new SNP leader when Alex Salmond steps down next month. Credit: PA

Nicola Sturgeon will be the new leader of the SNP when Alex Salmond steps down at the party conference in November, the party has confirmed.

Party members will be polled on the three candidates with the result declared at the SNP conference on November 14, when

The new leader will assume her post on November 14th.

SNP Business Convener Derek Mackay MSP said he was "delighted" Ms Sturgeon would be taking up the post.

"She will be a fantastic new leader of both the party and our country. She will build on the substantial legacy and extraordinary achievements of Alex Salmond as the longest serving First Minister, and make her own mark as she leads Scotland forward, he said.

SNP party leader announcement

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon Credit: PA

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is likely to be confirmed as the new SNP party leader later today.

Any member wishing to stand against Ms Sturgeon has until 4pm today to declare their intention to stand.

Sturgeon will replace Alex Salmond who announced he was stepping down in the wake of Scots rejecting independence in last month's referendum.

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