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Animal campaigner takes microchipping fight to Westminster

A campaigner fighting to have stray animals routinely scanned for microchips is preparing to set off to Westminster after her petition hit one hundred thousand signatures and sparked a debate in parliament.

Nina Blackburn from Halifax is calling for all animals found by the roadside to be scanned after her friend spent 13 weeks searching for her dog Harvey.

Miliband outlines Labour's 'Youth Pledge' in Leeds

Labour leader Ed Miliband will be discussing Labour's 'Youth Pledge' on a visit to our region today.

Labour Leader Ed Miliband is in West Yorkshire later to discuss policies on young people Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

The pledge will outline the party's youth policies, which includes their stance on tuition fees.

He'll be joined on his visit to Leeds by Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls.

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Hull Council approve budget

Hull City Council has approved new budget proposals which include a 1.95 per cent rise in council tax.

The authority said it was struggling against central government cuts of £41 million.

Councillors said the increase of council tax was preferable to adding to the £28 million the council already needed to save in 2015/16. Library opening hours will also be limited in an attempt to cut costs, while leisure services will be transferred to an "arms-length" council company.

Ahead of the city hosting the City of Culture celebrations in 2017, the city's gallery is to be refurbishes with £1 million in capital funding and a further £500,000 is to be put towards hosting the Turner Prize that year.

James Webster reports:

Senior Labour officials to select Bradford West candidate

Members of Labour Party's National Executive Committee will select their prospective parliamentary candidate in Bradford West, after the original representative stood down.

Amina Ali's was selected as the Labour candidate last weekend Credit: Twitter

Amina Ali announced her resignation citing family reasons yesterday.

New candidates have until Friday to register their interest in a seat with an all-women shortlist.

A panel of NEC members will interview the shortlisted candidates on Monday and make their decision.

Labour lost the seat to Respect’s George Galloway in a by-election in 2012.

My children come first: Amina Ali withdraws from Labour candidacy

The Labour Party received a fresh blow as their chosen candidate for Bradford West, Amina Ali withdrew from the party.

Ms Ali, who lives in London was chosen for Labour's target seat in Bradford West Credit: Amina Ali

Ms Ali said she was turning down the candidacy because she felt she wanted to spend time with her children.

She was the first British Somali woman ever selected to contest a target seat.

I am the mother of two children and despite my best efforts to make arrangements to bring them to Bradford for the next 70 days, particularly as one of them is doing her GCSEs, this would have caused massive disruption at a critical time.

I would not be able to do justice to the members of Bradford West CLP and the people of Bradford.

– Amina Ali

Ms Ali, who lives in London was chosen for Labour's target seat in Bradford West despite criticism from some quarters of the Labour party that she wasn't "local."

Bradford West needs a candidate who is going to live in Bradford and be involved in the campaign for every moment of every day and I am unable to fulfil this commitment despite a strong wish to support the Labour Party to victory.

– Amina Ali

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Godfrey Bloom: 'Rachel - which one of these jobs will go on the back burner?'

Former Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom has said it would be legitimate for the voters to question Rachel Reeves' ability to do her job as cabinet minister, despite having to go on maternity leave just weeks after she may be appointed to the job.

Bloom has been criticised for making offensive comments about women in the past Credit: Press Association

Bloom said that Rachel Reeves, would be doing three jobs if Labour were to win the election - as a cabinet minister, a local MP and now a mother. He said it was legitimate to ask which of these three would suffer.

I think if I were a member of the electorate, I would be entitled to ask that question, 'Rachel - which one of these jobs would go on the back burner?'

And I think that would be a perfectly legitimate question to ask ahead of the elections.

– Godfrey Bloom, former Ukip MEP

Bloom has been criticised for making offensive comments about women in the past and resigned from Ukip after he suggested a room full of women were "sluts."

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Broadcasters announce leaders debates dates

Broadcasters have announced the dates they propose to hold the party leader debates ahead of the general election.

Broadcasters announce leaders debates dates Credit: PA Wire

However it is not certain that all the leaders will agree to take part.

As the result of drawing lots by the broadcasters the order will be:

  • 2nd April: ITV - Debate between the Party Leaders of the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, UKIP, the SNP, the Green Party and Plaid Cymru.
  • 16th April: BBC - Debate between the Party Leaders of the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, UKIP, the SNP, the Green Party and Plaid Cymru.
  • 30th April: Sky and Channel 4 - Head to head debate between the Leader of the Conservative Party and the Leader of the Labour Party.
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