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How to boost voter numbers in the Midlands ahead of the General Election?

One of the biggest issues to be resolved before the General Election is voter turnout. In the UK 16 million of us don't bother to vote - seven million aren't even registered. Graham Allen - the Nottingham North MP - is now leading a consultation on how to shake up the system.

Could we vote online or on a smartphone? Should 16-year-olds be included?

Hannah Stokes reports for ITV Central's political programme - The Lobby.


Northants MP suggests Conservatives and UKIP should work together

Peter Bone, the MP for Wellingborough and Rushden, has tweeted that it could be time for UKIP and the Conservatives to work together.

It follows a second Westminster seat for UKIP in yesterday's by-election in Rochester and Strood.

Mr Bone has denied that he is considering defecting to UKIP.

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Mitchell admits to 'bad language', but denies 'pleb' insult

Former government chief whip Andrew Mitchell has admitted to occasionally using “bad language” in conversation, but denied having used the word “pleb”.

The MP told the High Court today he could be “impatient” when he felt he was being hampered from going about his business.

I even admit that I can be - or at least that I can appear to be - rude on these occasions.

To the best of my recollection, I have never called anybody a 'pleb', however, let alone a policeman.

Since the incident I have thought long and hard about this and cannot recall a single instance when I have called anybody a 'pleb'. It just isn't a word I use.

– Andrew Mitchell MP
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The Sun claims 'plebgate' story was 'substantially true'

The legal team arguing on behalf of The Sun newspaper has claimed an article published accusing former government chief whip Andrew Mitchell of a foul-mouthed rant at the gates of Downing Street was 'substantially true'.

News Group Newspapers (NGN) is relying on an account given by PC Toby Rowland, who said that Mr Mitchell had demanded and been denied the right to leave via the main gates.

Andrew Mitchell arriving for a Cabinet meeting at No 10 Downing Street on his bicycle Credit: PA

He then lost his temper, PC Rowland claims, saying: "Best you learn your f**king place - you don't run this f**king government - you're f**king plebs."

The Sutton Coldfield MP stood down as whip a month after the reports. He denies “demanding” to use the gates or using those words – though admits muttering under his breath: “I thought you guys were supposed to f**king help us". He has apologised for swearing.


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Court told police 'lies' ruined 'outstanding' minister's career

The barrister representing former government chief whip Andrew Mitchell has told the High Court that police officers' "lies" destroyed the "outstanding" minister's 27-year political career.

ITV News political correspondent Libby Wiener is at the hearing:

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Plebgate police's 'web of lies' outlined at High Court

Police officers were today accused of spinning a “web of lies, deceit and indiscipline” which led to the resignation of former government minister Andrew Mitchell over the so-called ‘plebgate’ scandal.

Representing Mr Mitchell at the High Court, James Price QC today opened the Sutton Coldfield MP’s libel action against News Group Newspapers (NGN) over the story.

Former government chief whip Andrew Mitchell is suing News Group Newspapers over the story Credit: PA

The court heard Mr Mitchell, the former chief whip, and his family were subjected to an “unpleasant and vitriolic” press campaign as a result of the allegations, which were leaked to The Sun by officers in September 2012.

Mr Mitchell claims the piece portrayed him as guilt of launching a grossly offensive and arrogant attack at Downing Street police officers two days earlier, branding them "f**king plebs" and"morons".

Read: Plebgate officer sacked over press leaks

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