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Council chiefs defend use of Bentleys and limousines

Cheshire West and Chester Council has come under fire by the Tax Payer's Alliance over the cost of its luxury limousine used by civic dignitaries.

The Bentley Continental has a starting retail price of £132,000. Some say the money could be better spent elsewhere.

In a statement to Granada Reports, The council said:

Cheshire West and Chester Council do not pay for any lease or own any civic vehicle.

The City of Chester Charter Trustees lease two vehicles, including a Bentley Flying Spur and a Jaguar XE Prestige. The Jaguar replaced a Vauxhall Insignia in Autumn 2017. Ellesmere Port Charter Trustees also lease a Vauxhall Zafira Tourer.

– Cheshire West and Chester Council

Councillor Alex Black, Chair of the City of Chester Charter Trustees, said:

Charter Trustees are separate organisations from the Council and raise their own precept. They have their own decision-making powers and manage their own budgets. The Council cannot influence their decisions.

These two vehicles are in constant use by our very busy civic team. Decisions like vehicle leases are discussed and voted on by the board of trustees. There are a number of factors that go into deciding which vehicles are most appropriate, including suitability, supporting local industry and environmental impact.

– Councillor Alex Black

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Barrow MP John Woodcock quits the Labour Party

Credit: Chris McAndrew/ PA

The MP for Barrow-in-Furness John Woodcock has resigned from the Labour Party.

He will continue to stand as an independent.

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Mr Woodcock has represented the Cumbrian seat since 2010.

He was suspended in April over claims he sent inappropriate messages to a former female member of staff.

He has denied the claim, which is being investigated by Labour, saying the allegation was "politically motivated".

A Labour spokesperson said:

“Jeremy thanks John for his service to the Labour Party.”

Granada Debate: Is the North West in the grip of a housing crisis?

Soaring rents, poor living conditions and rising homelessness in the region, is the North West in the grip of a housing crisis?

That's this month's Granada Debate:

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Labour renews calls for Esther McVey to resign

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons yesterday Credit: PA/PA Wire/PA Images

The MP for Tatton is facing more calls to resign after she admitted to 'inadvertently misleading' the House of Commons about Universal Credit.

The Work and Pensions Secretary had claimed the National Audit Office had called for a roll-out of Universal Credit to be accelerated.

However, that was denied by the watchdog yesterday.

Ms McVey appeared in the Commons again today after an urgent question by Birkenhead MP Frank Field was granted.

Labour politicians say the Conservative politician should be 'ashamed' and once again called for her resignation.

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