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Labour leader hopefuls arrive in Warrington for hustings

Labour's leadership hopefuls are taking part in a North West hustings organised by the party in Warrington today.

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Claims changes to Wythenshawe Hospital will 'cost lives'

MPs furious at a decision they say will lead to the downgrading of Wythenshawe hospital in Manchester have held a meeting with the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Health officials in Greater Manchester did not grant Wythenshawe specialist status in the "Healthier together" reforms - a move campaigners claim will cost lives.

MPs meet health minister over hospital fears

North West MPs have been meeting the Health Secretary over their fears that Wythenshawe hospital is being downgraded.

Wythenshawe Hospital missed out in favour of Stepping Hill Credit: Granada Reports

It missed out on plans to create four so-called "Super Hospitals" in the region to concentrate on areas such as high risk emergency surgery.

The "Healthier Together" shake up would mean Wythenshawe becoming a local hospital focusing mainly on planned procedures.

Wythenshawe MP Graham Brady says the process for choosing the hospitals did not take into account several factors:

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Andy Burnham to abstain during main welfare vote

Andy Burnham, the current frontrunner for the Labour leadership, has said he will abstain from today's main vote on the government's welfare plans if a Labour amendment does not pass.

Andy Burnham will abstain from tonight's vote - in keeping with Labour policy. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Some Labour figures could vote against the measures in parliament tonight - directly undermining acting leader Harriet Harman's call for the party to abstain.

The bill - outlined in George Osborne's Budget - will include measures to cut the welfare cap and restrict tax credits to two children per family.

Burnham, along with fellow leadership candidates Jeremy Corbyn and Yvette Cooper, opposed Harman's original plan not to oppose the plans - with Harman then tabling an amendment seeking to block the government's proposals.

"The Tories want to use this period to brand us in the way they did in 2010. We must not allow that to happen," he said in an open letter to colleagues.

"Collective responsibility is important and it is what I would expect as leader of our party. It is why I will be voting for our Reasoned Amendment and, if it is defeated, abstaining on the bill."

However, he added that the move would be "only the beginning of a major fight with the Tories over the measures, adding: "I am determined that we will fight this regressive Bill line by line, word by word in committee. If the Government do not make the major changes during committee stage, then, as Leader, I will oppose this Bill at third reading."

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