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Salford services 'radically redesigned' in budget

Salford City Council has approved its budget for the next year which will see "radically redesigned" services as they look to save £31m.

In a statement the city's mayor Ian Stewart promised to freeze council tax for the sixth year running and protect adult social care services.

All our services will need to change, some may disappear and some may be delivered by other organisations alone or in partnership with the council. But we’ve made every effort to limit reductions and even invest in critical services where we can.

– Ian Stewart, Mayor of Salford

Court rejects appeal over European funds for Liverpool

An appeal against the allocation of European funding between 2014 and 2020 brought by local authorities in Liverpool has been rejected by the Supreme Court.

Lawyers for Liverpool and Sheffield brought a joint action that claimed funding reductions were disproportionate compared to other areas. It was rejected by four votes to three.

This is a disappointing result, but it is clear that the legality of the judgement has split the highest judges in the land, which shows that we made the right decision in appealing it.

We maintain that as Liverpool is one of the most deprived areas in the country, the Government should have fully assessed this to make sure there was no unfair discrimination when making its decision.

– Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool

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Blackburn MP Jack Straw 'takes job' with firm he lobbied

Blackburn MP Jack Straw is facing further criticism after claims he accepted a job with a company he privately lobbied for, which won a £75million government contract.

Jack Straw Credit: Press Association

According to the Telegraph, during an undercover sting Mr Straw talked about privately lobbying Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude on behalf of Senator International, saying he had helped the office furniture firm "get on the ladder" and secure contracts to supply the Government.

He indicated he would probably take an executive position with the firm after the next election. "I happen to have helped them over the last four years anyway. I mean, without taking a penny from that," Mr Straw said.

"But as a result of getting the name out ... they've said would I be interested ultimately in going on the board?"

Mr Straw - who is stepping down at the election - said in a statement: "I have acted in accordance with the parliamentary rules at all times in respect of Senator International, as in all other respects. All of these matters will be scrutinised by the Parliamentary Commissioner."

School holds its own elections

The general election may be a few months away, but one school in the region is already getting in the mood.

Year six students at Pewithall primary in Runcorn have been organising their own elections.

Teachers came up with the idea in a bid to try and get children interested in politics.

Pupils have formed their own parties complete with policies and manifestos and have been debating issues important to them.

  1. National

Straw suspended from Labour over cash-for-access

Jack Straw has referred himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. Credit: Jeff Moore/Empics Entertainment

Former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has suspended himself from the Labour party after allegations that he and Sir Malcolm Rifkind were secretly filmed by the Daily Telegraph and Channel 4's Dispatches programme offering to use their positions of power to benefit a private company in return for cash.

Both men have strongly denied any wrongdoing.

A Labour Party spokesman said: "We have seen the disturbing allegations against Jack Straw in the Daily Telegraph. The chief whip has spoken to Jack Straw.

"He has agreed to refer himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and in the meantime he has agreed the best course of action is to suspend himself from the parliamentary Labour Party."

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  1. National

Ex-Foreign Secretaries face cash-for-access claims

Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw both deny any wrongdoing over cash-for-access claims. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Archive/Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Two former foreign secretaries are facing accusations that they were prepared to use their positions and contacts to benefit a private company in return for payments of thousands of pounds.

Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind have been named in an undercover investigation by the Daily Telegraph and Channel 4 Dispatches. Both men have strongly denied any wrongdoing.

The two senior MPs were secretly filmed by reporters claiming to represent a Hong Kong-based communications agency called PMR which was seeking to hire senior British politicians to join its advisory board.

At one meeting, Mr Straw is said to have described how he operated "under the radar" to use his influence to change European Union rules on behalf of a commodity firm which paid him £60,000 a year.

The meetings to discuss possible consultancy work were said to have taken place in his House of Commons office - a potential breach of Commons rules.

Sir Malcolm, who chairs the parliamentary committee which oversees Britain's intelligence agencies, was said to have claimed that he could arrange "useful access" to every British ambassador in the world because of his status.

Wirral West MP McVey 'would like to be Prime Minister' one day

Wirral West MP Esther McVey joined the ITV Loose Women for the first of a series of interviews with women MPs ahead of the General Election.

Conservative Ms McVey, who is Minister of State for Employment, was challeneged by host Janet Street-Porter to give a 'one-word answer' to a question about her ambitions to be Prime Minister

Watch below to see how she answered the question:

Manchester rock star Noel Gallager slams politicians

Noel Gallagher Credit: PA

Noel Gallagher has claimed that Nigel Farage could not 'run a corner shop', never mind the country, and has predicted that Boris Johnson will be the next prime minister.

The former Oasis man dismissed David Cameron and Ed Miliband as "bozos" and "career politicians" who "don't stand for anything" and dismissed the Labour Party as a "waste of time".

In an interview with online music website Quietus, Gallagher bemoaned the current state of politics - attacking MPs for being into power rather than politics.

But despite the criticism, the guitarist revealed he would vote in May's general election.

He said:

"I'll pick the most ludicrous thing on the f****** ballot. Last time I voted for a little guy who was standing round here as a pirate. I can't not vote, because I think that's copping out, but my vote is to f****** vote for something ludicrous because the Labour Party are a f****** waste of time.

"I just don't trust - trust is not the right word - I don't believe in any of them."

  1. Natasha Carter, ITV News

Get your class involved in the Election 2015 School Debate

The countdown to the General Election is underway and, with less than 80 days to go, one of the big challenges is getting young people involved in the political process.

That's why ITV News is launching the Election 2015 School debate for years 11 and above.

If your class is doing anything to mark the election - we'd like to see you in action and maybe include you in our programme.

Natasha Carter has more:

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