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Victory for baby ashes campaigners in Hull

Parents who have been calling on Hull City Council to hold a local inquiry into the baby ashes scandal are celebrating a victory for their campaign.

Justice Secretary Michael Gove has today written to the council demanding it holds an independent inquiry - similar in extent to the Emstrey inquiry in Shropshire.

Hull MP Diana Johnson and Tina Trowhill met with the Justice Secretary in February

Tina Trowhill, along with Hull North MP Diana Johnson, met with justice secretary Michael Gove in February.

Tina's son William was stillborn in 1994. She was told there would be no ashes, and only in 2014 did she find out there had been - and they had been scattered at a crematorium in the city. She launched a support group and dozens more parents came forward with a similar story.

The meeting with Mr Gove followed an investigation by Calendar, which found the scandal went deeper. It found the ashes of up to 50 babies were still being held at Co-op Funeralcare, which had a historic working arrangement with the local NHS Trust. Some dated as far back as 23 years ago.

Today, Diana Johnson confirmed that Mr Gove had written to her, informing her that he was to ask Hull City Council to hold a local inquiry - something that it has refused to do during the 18-month campaign.

The letter says:

''I am pleased to be able to tell you that my fellow Secretaries of State for Health, and Communities and Local Government, have agreed with me that there is a need for an historic investigation into the practices relating to infant cremations in the Hull area, and we have today jointly written to the Chief Executive of the council asking him to commission this.

We have suggested that the Hull investigation should have similar terms of reference to the Emstrey investigation. It will be independent of central Government.''

– Justice Secretary Michael Gove, in a letter to Diana Johnson MP

In a statement, Hull City Council says it will consider the request, but will not commit to holding an inquiry.

"We are very sensitive to the feelings of those who have been affected by this historic issue and of the need to ensure that parents across the country do not have to deal with the upset and uncertainty of not knowing what has happened to their baby's ashes.

"No decision has yet been made to hold a local inquiry but we will consider the Minister's request taking into account all of the work that has been undertaken locally with the hospital and funeral directors, the previous enquiries in Scotland and Shropshire and the recent national call for evidence, towards which we have contributed substantially.

"Our position has always been that this is a national issue and that the best way to ensure that parents, at a time of great distress, have confidence in a consistent and caring process across all hospitals, funeral directors and crematoria in dealing with the ashes of their babies is for the Government to develop and issue clear guidelines within a national Code of Practice, based on the findings of a national inquiry."

– Trish Dalby, Deputy Chief Executive, Hull City Council

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Last Orders: Watch the latest episode of our political programme

The European Union referendum features heavily on the latest episode of ITV's political programme Last Orders.

We speak to businessmen and steel workers with a month to go before the crucial vote.

The panel consists of:

  • Barry Sheerman MP (Labour, Huddersfield)
  • Rishi Sunak MP (Richmond, Conservative)
  • Lord Newby of Rothwell (Liberal Democrat)
  • Mike Hookem MEP (UKIP, Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire)

Click below to watch the full episode with Paul Brand

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Pregnant woman allegedly assaulted in Hull car park

An investigation is underway after a 25-year-old pregnant woman was allegedly assaulted in a supermarket car park in Hull.

Police have released a picture of a woman they would like to trace over the alleged incident Credit: Humberside Police

The woman, who was 36 weeks pregnant, was believed to have been verbally abused, punched in the head and had her hair pulled by an unknown woman at Asda's Mount Pleasant Car Park.

The attack is said to have happened as the pregnant woman was leaving the car park on Saturday May 21 at 5.45pm. She was not visibly injured but her car was damaged.

Police have released a picture of a woman they would like to speak to in connection with the alleged incident.

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