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  1. National

Mercer 'to remain in Commons as Independent MP'

Tory MP Patrick Mercer will remain in the Commons as an Independent MP, despite resigning the party whip over allegations that he broke Parliamentary rules.

In light of the allegations being made against him, Patrick has decided to resign the whip from the Conservative Party while a proper investigation is undertaken.

Until such time as the investigation is concluded, Patrick will be an Independent Member of Parliament and not subject to the rules of the local party.

Patrick has always been a dedicated, hard-working and popular local MP and we will be saddened if these allegations are proven.

Until such time as there has been a full and proper investigation, in line with British justice, we shall neither pre-judge nor pre-empt the outcome.

– Stuart Wallace, chairman of the Newark Conservative Association

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  1. National

Councillor saw Patrick Mercer as a 'very solid citizen'

Councillors in Patrick Mercer's constituency of Newark, where he has a 16,000 majority, have expressed their shock at the news of his resignation.

Councillor Peter Duncan said he always thought of Mr Mercer as "a very solid citizen".

He added: "If this news is true then I am shocked. I thought he was a very strong individual with a strong point of view. He will be missed."

Another Tory councillor Derek Evans said: "I'm very surprised at the news. I've a lot of trust and faith in Patrick. I have utter faith in him as an MP."

Profile of Newark MP Patrick Mercer

Patrick Mercer became MP for Newark in 2001 Credit: Johnny Green/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Before entering Parliament in 2001 Patrick Mercer OBE spent 25 years as an army officer with the Sherwood Foresters, following in the footsteps of his father who had served in the same regiment during the Second World War.

During this time, Mr Mercer served in a number of countries, including Northern Ireland where he completed nine tours. As well as serving in Uganda, he commanded his battalion in both Bosnia and Canada.

His parliamentary career took off in 2001, when he overturned a Labour majority of 3,000 to become MP for Newark.

In 2003, he was appointed to the frontbench by the then Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith and became the party's spokesman on homeland security.

He continued to speak for the Tories on issues of national security even after Mr Duncan Smith was succeeded by Michael Howard, and later David Cameron.

  1. National

Panorama investigating lobbying and MP conduct

BBC's Panorama show said they have been investigating lobbying and conduct of MPs and members of the House of Lords and sought a response from "a number of people including Mr Mercer." In a statement the broadcaster said:

BBC Panorama has been investigating lobbying and the conduct of MPs and members of the House of Lords.

The programme is still being made and will be broadcast as soon as possible. The investigation has raised a number of issues related to those involved. Panorama has sought responses from a number of people including Mr Mercer.

Newark MP Mercer quitting over documentary claims

Newark MP Patrick Mercer has said he is quitting Parliament amid allegations that he broke rules on lobbying.

The backbencher said he was resigning the Tory whip immediately "to save my party embarrassment", and would not stand at the next general election.

In a statement, Mr Mercer said: "Panorama are planning to broadcast a programme alleging that I have broken Parliamentary rules.

"I am taking legal advice about these allegations - and I have referred myself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

"In the meantime, to save my party embarrassment, I have resigned the Conservative Whip and have so informed Sir George Young. I have also decided not to stand at the next general election."

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Thatcher's grandchildren walk ahead of the coffin

Pall-bearers carry the coffin into St Paul's Cathedral. Credit: ITV News

The eight pall-bearers who carried the casket into the Cathedral were drawn from Army units, Royal Navy ships and RAF stations with links to the Falklands war, commanded by Major Nick Mott of the Welsh Guards who served in the 1982 conflict.

Lady Thatcher's grandchildren Michael and Amanda walked ahead of the coffin. Credit: ITV News

Lady Thatcher's grandchildren Michael and Amanda walked ahead of the coffin as it entered the cathedral, carrying cushions bearing the insignia of the Order of the Garter and Order of Merit, which were laid on the altar.

  1. National

Costs of funeral are a 'fraction' of what people think

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, the man responsible for organising Thatcher's funeral, said the costs are a "fraction" of the figures being "banded around".

Speaking to Daybreak he said: "The state will always pay for the costs of the funeral and memorial of a former Prime Minister and Margaret Thatcher was very adamant she did not want to have a separate memorial service.

"So this is the one occasion when people will get their chance to pay their respects, give her a send off and commemorate what was, by any exception, a really remarkable life."

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