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Council leader resigns to prevent 'disunity' ahead of no confidence vote

Richard Farnell apologised to sexual abuse Credit: ITV Granada

Richard Farnell has stood down as the Leader of Rochdale Council.

He's faced calls to quit since recent evidence he gave to the national public inquiry into allegations of child abuse at Knowl View School.

Councillor Farnell has always denied knowing about it. He'd been due to face vote of no confidence at a council meeting on Wednesday.

He emailed fellow councillors claiming he stepped down to prevent causing 'disunity.'

"Following the evidence to the child abuse inquiry there's been a persistent campaign from a small minority of members in the party calling for my suspension in an attempt to undermine my leadership and cause disunity in the party and group,"

– Richard Farnell who's stepped down as council leader

Cllr Farnell had made a personal apology to survivors of historical sexual abuse two months ago.

It's the first time a politician has said sorry for what happened at institutions in the town over several decades.

The council's two deputy leaders will take over until his replacement has been chosen.

WATCHL Our exclusive report when Richard Farnell apologised to sexual abuse survivors in October.

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Report calling for more 'people centred' Powerhouse to be launched

The report will be launched at the House of Lords Credit: Dan Kitwood/PA Wire/PA Images

A new report calling for a more 'people centred' emphasis for the Northern Powerhouse is to be launched later at the House of Lords.

The report 'Putting the People in the Powerhouse' sets out five main aims

  1. A more inclusive North where our diverse voices and strengths are represented

  2. A good economy that works for more people

  3. Devolution that genuinely includes local people

  4. A focus on the value of all our places

  5. More collaboration, sharing and learning together

I think with the People's Powerhouse event in Doncaster earlier this year and now the publication of this report we are really starting to change the conversation around the Northern Powerhouse. We're not saying transport and infrastructure aren't important. But we are saying that economic growth doesn't always trickle down and benefit everyone. We need a Powerhouse for all the North - not just the big cities, and one that improves life chances for people furthest from the labour market. As Andy Burnham said at our Doncaster event - it's time to open the doors to the Powerhouse and let the people in.

– Tracy Fishwick, Project Director 'People's Powerhouse'

IoM pro-choice 'Handmaidens' hold demonstration

Protesters dress in Handmaiden costumes outside of Tynwald, Douglas. Credit: Helen McKenna, ITV

A protest has been held on the Isle of Man by pro-choice group Handmaids IOM.

It follows a presentation from UK anti-abortion group LIFE, who were invited to speak to Tynwald members this morning by David Anderson MHK.

The Handmaids said via their Facebook page: "We’re getting there but the race hasn’t been won yet. We won’t stop until women of the Isle of Man are able to have safe and legal abortions here on the Island."

A new draft Bill has been proposed by Dr Alex Allinson, which is being reviewed in 2018.

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Final IoM draft abortion reform Bill to be presented in January

Dr Alex Allinson MHK for Ramsey proposed changes for an abortion reform Bill. Credit: Isle of Man Government

A final draft abortion reform Bill will be brought before the Isle of Man's House of Keys in January 2018.

Ramsey MHK Dr Alex Allinson has spent 11 months working on proposals, including allowing women a termination up to 14 weeks into pregnancy.

Results from a public consultation showed people largely support the Bill, with the results published on the Manx government website last month.

Labour says MP faces investigation

Bury South Labour MP Ivan Lewis Credit: pa

Labour former minister and Bury South MP Ivan Lewis is facing an investigation following a complaint about his conduct, the party has said. A party spokesman refused to discuss details of the allegation but said any complaint of sexual harassment was treated extremely seriously.

"The Labour Party takes all allegations of sexual harassment extremely seriously and all complaints are investigated in line with our robust procedures," the spokesman said. "Ivan Lewis is currently under investigation following the receipt of a complaint."

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