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Labour promise more powers to regions

Labour has promised to give more powers to cities outside London, to help close the north-south divide. In a speech today,

Ed Miliband said he'd give councils extra money to make their own decisions on issues such as transport and housing.

The Labour party have also said today that they'd bring back regional ministers to champion areas like Yorkshire and Lincolnshire within the government. The Tories are asking how Labour would pay for it, but Mr. Miliband says he's committed to making changes.

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Veteran MP to stand down

George Mudie MP
George Mudie MP Credit: ITV Yorkshire

*Veteran Labour MP George Mudie is *to stand down at the next general election. The 68-year-old has represented Leeds East since 1992, when he took over from former Labour Chancellor Denis Healey.

Scottish-born Mr Mudie was leader of Leeds City Council for a decade before entering Parliament.

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Labour peer faced party suspension last year

Lord Ahmed joined the Labour Party in his teens and was made a life peer in 1998. Credit: Dave Higgens/PA Archive

Lord Ahmed, 55, was freed by the Court of Appeal after serving 16 days of his 12-week prison sentence in 2009 for dangerous driving.

The Pakistan-born property developer later supported an AA/Populus poll into mobile phone use among motorists, saying he had "learnt the hard way" about the problem.

The peer was suspended from the Labour Party for three months last year over reports he offered a $10 million (£6.7 million) "bounty" for the capture of Barack Obama and George Bush.

Lord Ahmed denied having made the comments, published in a Pakistani newspaper, and was reinstated after an investigation by Labour Lords Chief Whip Lord Bassam.

National

Lord Ahmed 'claims Jewish friends pressured courts'

Lord Ahmed was sentenced in 2009 after pleading guilty to dangerous driving, having sent and received text messages in the build up to a fatal crash on the M1 near Sheffield on Christmas Day in 2007.

The final message was sent two minutes before his Jaguar struck the stationary car of 28-year-old Slovakian Martyn Gombar.

No causal link was made between the text messages and Mr Gombar's death, though.

The Times said it gained four separate Urdu-English translations to verify Lord Ahmed's comments during a television interview, which it said were thought to have been made in April last year during his visit to Pakistan. The newspaper claims the peer is seen saying:

I was charged with a traffic offence, for texting while driving. A traffic offence, dangerous driving, and it should have gone to the magistrates court.

My case became more critical because I went to Gaza to support Palestinians. My Jewish friends who own newspapers and TV channels opposed this.

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