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Nottinghamshire children get Stephen Lawrence Award

Children from six Nottingham schools and five Newark children’s centres will be presented with the county’s first Stephen Lawrence Awards today.

The Stephen Lawrence Education Standard will be given to the children in recognition of on-going commitment to anti-racism.

Councillor Pauline Allan will be presenting the awards in a ceremony at Rufford County Park, near Ollerton. She said:

This is the first time such an event has been held here in Nottinghamshire and everyone involved with the schools and Children's Centres gaining the Standard should be rightly very proud of being the first in the county to achieve Level One of this prestigious award.

These children and young people are helping to shape the future - developing the responsible, compassionate citizens our society so desperately needs.

Man charged after park incident

A man has been charged with possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence after an incident at Sconce Hill Park, off Boundary Road, Newark, at about 5.20pm on Thursday 20th June 2013.

Gordon Garside, 31, of California Road, Farndon, Newark, was remanded into police custody to appear at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on Saturday 22nd June 2013.

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Yeo claims follow Patrick Mercer resignation

Patrick Mercer resigned from his party over lobbying claims. Credit: PA

The allegations against Tim Yeo come just a week after another Conservative MP, the backbencher Patrick Mercer (pictured), was forced to resign the party whip after being caught up in a another set of lobbying claims.

As a result of those claims, the Speaker, John Bercow, reportedly suspended more than 80 House of Commons passes and the government promised to bring forward a bill to introduce a statutory register of political lobbyists.

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MP accused of tabling questions for fake lobbying firm

Patrick Mercer MP filmed by BBC Panorama
Patrick Mercer MP filmed by BBC Panorama Credit: BBC Panorama/The Telegraph

Conservative MP Patrick Mercer has been accused of breaking parliamentary rules by offering to provide a Commons pass for lobbyists and tabling parliamentary questions in return for money.

Secret filming by BBC Panorama and The Telegraph appears to show Mercer agreeing to table parliamentary questions after being paid by a fake lobbying firm. The questions were drafted by undercover reporters purporting to be lobbyists for businesses with interests in Fiji, the Telegraph alleges.

Mr Mercer is also captured on camera agreeing to approve a parliamentary pass for a "representative" for the fake firm. He said:

"I do not charge a great deal of money for these things. I would normally come out at £500 per half day, so £1,000 a day."

Parliamentary rules ban MPs from undertaking "paid advocacy" on behalf of paying clients. Mr Mercer said he is taking legal advice on the allegations.

Read: Patrick Mercer 'taking legal advice over allegations'

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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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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.

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Tory MP in spotlight is no fan of David Cameron

by - Deputy Political Editor

Tory MP Patrick Mercer is no fan of David Cameron. News that he was about to resign the Conservative Party whip triggered speculation he was about to join UKIP. Or that he was about to say Cameron should be challenged for the leadership.

However, the decision was prompted by a newspaper story which was due out tomorrow. He is facing allegations over lobbying and failing to register his activities.

Patrick Mercer MP
Patrick Mercer MP has referred himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. Credit: Press Assocation

Mr Mercer says he has referred himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. He has also decided not to stand as the MP for Newark at the next election.

Mercer was forced to leave the Shadow front bench in 2007 when he said it was acceptable to refer to ethnic minority soldiers as "black b*****ds."

Downing Street says the Prime minister is aware. But he won't be choking on his Spanish cornflakes on his Ibiza holiday that this particular MP has left the family.

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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.

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