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Former Bradford Council leader Eric Pickles to be knighted

Eric Pickles, who is originally from Keighley, is to be given a knighthood, Downing Street has announced.

Former Bradford Council leader Eric Pickles to be knighted Credit: Press Association

The Conservative former Communities Secretary will be made a Knight Bachelor in recognition of his public service as an MP, a former Cabinet minister and his time in local government including two years as Bradford Council leader, No 10 said.

Mr Pickles, who was first elected to Parliament in 1992, lost his front bench role following the general election.

John Mann: Of course I could do the top job

Outspoken Labour MP John Mann claims he could have been the Labour Party's next leader, but does not have enough support inside the party.

In the past two days the Bassetlaw MP has derided his party for its "monochrome" performance in the general election and released his own "manifesto for a brilliant Britain".

He told ITV Calendar it contains values many traditional Labour supporters would support, but he does not have enough support from party colleagues to challenge as leader:

Asked if he thought he could do the top job in the party, Mr Mann said, "Of course I could do the top job."

"Get me a group of Labour MPs signing a nomination and perhaps I'll be there. But I'm not holding my breath."

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George Galloway referred to police over expenses

Former Bradford West MP George Galloway has been referred to the police by MP expenses watchdog after a complaint by his former assistant.

Credit: Press Association

Aisha Ali-Khan complained that to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) - alleging that while she worked for Mr Galloway, she spent a large amount of time on non-parliamentary duties including clothes shopping and making preparations for his wedding.

An IPSA spokesman has now confirmed that the matter has been passed on to the police.

Galloway lost his Bradford West seat to Labour's Naz Shah in the recent general election.

IPSA's compliance officer has completed his assessment of the George Galloway complaint and has passed it on to the Metropolitan Police Service.

– IPSA

Responding to the IPSA statement, Mr Galloway said: "This is news to me. According to the media, IPSA have had a complaint but they haven't informed me who has complained or exactly what the complaint is about.

"And then, without even a call, an email or a letter, they appear to have handed it on to the Met and gone public about it.

If IPSA's compliance officer has completed some kind of investigation without asking for any response from the person complained about, or even letting him know who has complained and what the complaint is about, then that is surely a breach of natural justice, and undoubtedly inspired by Kafka. When I know officially what this is all about, I will respond more fully.

– George Galloway

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House of Commons big change as new MPs take their seats

There was big change in the House of Commons today as 16 new MPs from our region took their seats.

They quickly re-eleted the Speaker, but not much as stayed the same. The Lib Dems have been pushed onto the back benches by the Scottish Nationalists, who are now the third biggest party.

There has also been a big leap in the diversity of our MPs, as our Political Correspondent Paul Brand reports.

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Labour leadership candidates pitch to activists

Candidates for the Labour leadership are to make their pitch to activists after the surprise withdrawal of favourite Chuka Umunna from the race.

Labour leadership candidates in pitch to activists Credit: PA

Declared contenders Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Mary Creagh and Liz Kendall are all due to speak at the annual conference of the Progress think tank - as is fellow frontbencher Tristram Hunt, who is also expected to run. The party is still digesting the news from Mr Umunna that he is dropping his bid to succeed Ed Miliband in the top job.

Just days after formally declaring his candidacy, the shadow business secretary said he had "very real concerns" about the impact of his ambitions on "those close to me".

Farron to launch Lib Dem leadership bid in Otley

Tim Farron will officially announce his candidacy to replace Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg as Leader of the Liberal Democrats when he visits Otley today.

Tim Farron will announce his candidacy to replace Nick Clegg as the Lib-Dem leader on a visit to Otley Credit: ITV News

The local Leeds North West MP Greg Mullholland will be the Westmorland and Lonsdale MP's campaign co-ordinator.

Farron served four years as President of the Liberal Democrats, until December 2014, and is hugely popular among party grassroots.

“That over 10,000 people have joined the party since polling day shows we still have huge appeal among voters.

"I have every confidence that we as a party can rebuild after a difficult general election - I want to be at the forefront of that, and that’s why I am running to be Leader of the Liberal Democrats.

“I am greatly looking forward to visiting Otley to announce my candidacy. It’s a great example of an area where people see us as the party with the right priorities and are ready to back us.

"That was clear to see in local residents re-electing Greg Mulholland for a third straight term, and overwhelmingly voting Liberal Democrats to run the local town council. Yes, we had a difficult general election result, but we are determined to rebuild and places like Otley show how we can do that.”

– Tim Farron MP
Leeds North West MP Greg Mullholland will act as Tim Farron's campaign co-ordinator Credit: ITV Yorkshire

“I am delighted to be backing Tim Farron to be the next leader of the Liberal Democrats. We need to re-establish a strong identity for the party and reconnect and re-engage with the public.

"Tim has a clear vision for how the party can be energised to do just that and I want to be part of that vision and making it happen.

“I am very pleased that Tim agreed to come to Otley to launch his leadership campaign. Otley is a proud liberal town, with strong civic pride and a wonderful community spirit.

"It is great that after the remarkable Liberal Democrat victory in the Otley Town Council elections, Tim is launching the Liberal Democrat fightback – and we want Otley to be an example of how a strong liberal team can deliver for people.

“Tim has the ability to connect with people from all different backgrounds, in all different parts of this country and he is the right person to lead the liberal revival this country needs. "

– Greg Mullholland MP
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