Pizza, politics and the referendum

ITV Border Political Editor, Peter MacMahon, blogs on the competing claims over promises of more powers for Scotland

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Sir Tony Cunningham says 'the time is right' to retire

After a career as a councillor, mayor, MEP and MP - the knight, Sir Tony Cunningham has decided to retire from Westminster at the next election.

The Workington MP said he wanted to spend more time with his family, particularly his young son.

Our Political Correspondent Paul Brand caught up with him in his constituency as he announced his decision.

Trivia: Sir Tony Cunningham's varied career

Sir Tony Cunningham received his Knighthood in 2012 Credit: PA
  • Sir Tony was born in Workington in 1952 and has spent most of his life there, working as a teacher before going into politics.
  • His political career began locally, serving as Mayor of Workington and Leader of Allerdale Council in the 1990s.
  • In 1994 he was elected to the European Parliament where he developed an interest in international development.
  • In 1995 he published the Cunningham Report, which was the first report to call for the complete and outright ban of landmines.
  • Before becoming an MP in 2001, he briefly worked as Chief Executive of the human rights organisation Indict, looking at authoritarian regimes such as Saddam Hussein's rule in Iraq.
  • In his spare time Sir Tony is an avid sports fan, playing rugby and football and running regularly. While living in Zanzibar he even played first division soccer.

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Sir Tony Cunningham: time right to retire

by Paul Brand
Sir Tony says the time is right to stand down Credit: John Stillwell/PA Archive/Press Association Images

At the next election, Sir Tony Cunningham will be 62.

After a long career in politics as a councillor, MEP, MP and government whip, he ITV Border "the time just feels right to go."

There will be many in Labour eyeing it up as the party now searches for a new candidate.

Sir Tony Cunningham to stand down at next election

by Paul Brand
Workington MP Sir Tony Cunningham
Workington MP Sir Tony Cunningham has decided to stand down at the next election Credit: Sean Dempsey/ PA

The Workington MP Sir Tony Cunningham has decided to stand down at the next election after thirteen years in parliament.

Sir Tony told ITV Border on Thursday that he wanted to spend more time with his family.

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Salmond claims independence will bring public spending boost

The Scottish parliament began its Summer recess today with the independence referendum still dominating debate.

It was raised in the final First Minister's Question's before the break, but there wasn't much of an end of term atmosphere in the parliament chamber earlier.

The independence referendum is just over 80 days from now in which Scots will be asked to decide if they want to leave the United Kingdom.

Labour's leader Johann Lamont raised criticisms from doctors' leaders in Scotland of the SNP's stewardship of the NHS.

But it was not long before First Minister Alex Salmond turned his answer round to what he claims are the benefits of independence - boosting public spending.

Young carers campaign backed by Scottish Borders Council

A national campaign to help young carers receive more help from the government has been backed by the Scottish Borders Council.

Three teenagers from the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) lobbied councillors for their support today, 26 June.

The SYP 'Care. Fair. Share' campaign aims to ensure young carers are treated fairly by society and in government policies.

Finlay Duff, 18 from Jedburgh, Scott Redmond from Hawick and Nicola Pringle from Oxton, both 17, are all part of the SYP and went to the council for their support.

“A young carer is defined as someone under the age of 25 who has a significant role in providing care, often to a relative – parent or sibling - who is experiencing physical or mental illness, disability, substance misuse or other needs. There is estimated to be over 100,000 young carers in Scotland. This is nearly 10% of all school aged children.”

– Nicola Pringle, Member of Scottish Youth Parliament

Finlay and Nicola gave a presentation to Scottish Borders Council members this morning, 26 June, who offered their support for the motion.

“I am delighted to have the support of Scottish Borders Council. This is an important step in shedding light and addressing this important issue and the needs of young carers. Today’s motion is an important milestone and extends the hard work that we have put in to this campaign as members of the Scottish Youth Parliament, and I am glad to see change happening as a direct result of this commitment.”

– Finlay Duff, Member of Scottish Youth Parliament
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