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IoM Abortion Bill amendments to be discussed this morning

Bishop of Sodor and Man Peter Eagles was welcomed by Tynwald in 2017 Credit:

The Isle of Man's Abortion Reform Bill will have a second reading this morning when the Legislative Council sits at 10.30am.

Bishop of Sodor and Man Peter Eagles has put forward eight amendments to be considered, including reducing the timescales for abortions to 12 weeks and 22 weeks.

Pro-choice group Handmaids IOM posted their views via Facebook, saying that the amendments "are either further delaying tactics - after all, these have already been voted down - or it’s an expression of just how little the Church trusts women."

A 'flag relay' marks the role Liverpool women made to the suffrage movement

Eleanor Rathbone was tireless campaigner for women and underprivileged people. Credit: ITV Granada

A team of government workers in Liverpool are taking part in special 'flag relay' to mark a the centenary of the first women being given the vote in the UK.

The team from the Crown Commercial Service and the Home Office will display the 'Votes for Women' flag on the Royal Liver Building today.

The event will remember in particular some of the women from Liverpool who played a key part in the struggle for women's suffrage.

In May 1929 Eleanor Rathbone was elected as an MP, becoming the first Liverpool woman to take a seat in the House of Commons. She served until 1945.

The suffrage flag will travel around the country to mark 100 years since the passage of The Representation of the People Act 1918 - which handed the vote to 8.5 million women, 40% of the adult female population in the UK at the time.

Later that year the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act 1918 was passed, allowing women to be elected to Parliament.

Watch: a special tribute to Eleanor Rathbone in her home city here

'Women campaigned for over 60 years to receive the right to vote and we want to celebrate this and continue promoting diversity in every way possible.

'One of the most influential women in the Suffrage movement, Eleanor Rathbone, came from Liverpool. That struck a chord with us, and we're thrilled to be given the opportunity to hoist the flag for the day.

'We want to promote gender equality and celebrate Women's rights, but we also want to promote diversity more widely across the Civil Service.'

– Alexandra Marshall from CCS


Nigel Evans challenges neighbouring MPs over Brexit

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans is urging neighbouring MPs not to frustrate the passage of the EU Withdrawal Bill when it returns to the Commons later.

He claims Blackpool, Burnley and Hyndburn had the highest margin of leave voters in Lancashire.

Mr Evans believes his colleagues have a duty to give the electorate what they chose.

Tim Farron MP to meet Rail Minister

Tim Farron MP at Windermere Station Credit: Office of Tim Farron

The MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, Tim Farron, is to meet the Rail Minister Jo Johnson in Westminster on Monday to discuss the ongoing problems with rail services in the area.

Northern have cancelled hundreds of services in the South Lakes in recent weeks.

Mr Farron says he will press the minister to take immediate action to ensure trains are back up and running – including removing the services from Northern if they aren’t able to run them.

Not content with cancelling half their services – Northern have cancelled every service on the Lakes Line today. And the Furness and coast lines aren’t fairing much better.

I’m grateful to Jo Johnson for meeting me on Monday – I’ll be raising the huge amount of correspondence I’ve had from constituents over recent weeks and pressing him and Chris Grayling to take action to get the service back up and running.

– Tim Farron MP


Mayors demand Government action over 'dire' rail services

Steve Rotheram Credit: Louisa Collins-Marsh/PA Archive/PA Images

Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram have demanded that the Government take action over what they describe as 'dire' services in the North.

The Mayor for Greater Manchester the Metro Mayor for Liverpool have criticised Northern Rail for 'causing chaos' on networks for "far too long".

Hundreds of services have been cancelled by Northern and Govia Thameslink Railway since departure times were rescheduled on Sunday.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said it was a "major teething problem" in what would be a "step forward for the railways" on Wednesday.

He insisted sorting out Northern services was his "number one performance priority".

But the mayors said talk of teething problems suggested issues have arisen only recently with the timetable shake-up, when in fact services have been poor for a long time.

Following the joint call with Mr Grayling, they said any solution needed to address the operator's "endemic staffing shortage".

In a statement they called for an "agreed analysis" of the causes of problems and an improvement plan by Northern, including "clear dates and milestones" so it could be held to account.

They also demanded a deadline for outstanding Delay Repay claims for passenger refunds, a broader compensation offer for regular travellers, and a removal of Northern's licence to operate if it failed to meet the agreed plan.

The statement read: "Chaos on the North's rail network has been so extreme and so prolonged that as a company Northern have lost the benefit of the doubt.

"They simply cannot be permitted to keep inflicting a miserable sub-standard service on the hundreds of thousands of passengers across our region who have had to endure dire train travel for far too long."

Northern has submitted "urgent plans" to tackle its poor performance, the Department for Transport has said.

This would include improving driver rostering, increasing driver training on new routes and putting extra peak services into the timetable on key routes.

DfT officials were "working urgently" with Northern and transport body Transport for the North to improve services.

Mr Grayling was due to meet Northern bosses on Thursday.

A spokesman for Northern has accepted it had been a "difficult few days" and apologised for the delays and cancellations.

On Wednesday, Mr Grayling reserved criticism for Network Rail, the state-owned company responsible for Britain's rail infrastructure, as he claimed they left the rest of the industry "struggling to catch up" after it was "far too late" in finalising planned timetable changes.

The rail timetable is updated twice a year, but the latest update has seven times more changes than normal due to the introduction of new trains and a bid to make existing services more reliable

Andy Burnham Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/PA Images

WATCH: The Granada Debate

Watch this month’s Granada Debate presented by Alison Mackenzie.

How should clinicians decide on which drugs are made available for patients with rare conditions? Should cost be prioritised over care?

And we take a look at the fallout from the local elections. On the panel this month - the Conservative MP for Eddisbury Antoinette Sandbach, the Labour MP for Sefton Central Bill Esterson and for the Liberal Democrats Lord Storey.

North West politicians pay tribute to Tessa Jowell

Dame Tessa Jowell Credit: PA/PA Wire/PA Images

Politicians from the North West have paid tribute to DameTessa Jowell who has died aged seventy.

The former Labour cabinet minister who was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumour in May last year, suffered a haemorrhage on Friday, and had been in a coma until her death on Saturday, a spokesman for the family said.

The Ashton MP Angela Rayner says that she was a highly respected politician and stalwart of the Labour Party over many years.

And Rebecca Long-Bailey, who represents Salford and Eccles for Labour, says she was an inspiration to other women.

Debbie Abrahams MP has been sacked from Labour's shadow Cabinet

Debbie Abrahams claimed she was a 'victim of a bullying culture' Credit: Debbie Abrahams MP

Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams has been sacked from Labour's shadow Cabinet after an investigation into workplace bullying.

The Labour Party said in March that Ms Abrahams had "stood aside from her frontbench role while they investigate an employment issue".

The Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary said at the time she had not agreed to stand aside and claimed she had been a victim of a "bullying culture of the worst kind".

A Labour Party spokesman said:

"After a thorough party investigation into allegations of workplace bullying, Debbie Abrahams has been referred to the NEC disputes committee. She has been relieved of her post as shadow work and pensions secretary."

Ms Abrahams counter claim of bullying by the Labour Leader's office has been thrown out by. She will now go to the NEC disputes panel and denies the bullying claims against her.

"I strongly refute the allegations of bullying made against me. I believe the investigations was not thorough, fair or independent.

I will continue to represent the people of Oldham East and Saddleworth, and to hold this Government to account, from the back benches."

– Debbie Abrahams MP
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