The former MEP for the South East, Peter Skinner, has arrived at Southwark Crown Court in London for sentencing after being found guilty of fiddling his expenses. Skinner, from Snodland in Kent, was found guilty of one count of making a false instrument, one count of fraud and one count of false accounting.
The 56-year-old ex Labour Member of the European Parliament admits that public trust in politicians as a whole will have been damaged by his case. It is expected that he will be jailed this morning.
Skinner claimed the maximum staff Parliamentary Assistance Allowance (PAA) between 2004 and 2009 while he was representing the South East of England in the European Parliament. The money - £480,000 - was supposed to be used for staffing costs, but instead some was used to "fund a lavish lifestyle and pay off his wife following their divorce.".
Deaths involving legal highs have risen with men in their twenties at most risk, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The so-called 'legal highs' are defined in this analysis as new psychoactive substances not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 on the day the person died, such as mephedrone.
However the number is small compared to illegal drugs such as heroin and morphine.
Some people think that because these drugs are or were legal until recently, they are safe. Forensic testing has shown that a single tablet or powder can contain a mixture of different substances and even 'traditional' illegal drugs, which may explain why the majority of deaths involving legal highs involved more than one drug."
Amanda Houston presents the weather forecast for the east of the Meridian region.Read the full story ›
Amanda Houston presents the late evening forecast for the east of the Meridian region.Read the full story ›
The Chief Executive of Medway NHS Foundation Trust has responded to the Care Quality Commission assessment of the trust's care for patients following an inspection in March.
“Our ambition is to provide the best possible care to the people of Kent and Medway, and we know we still have a long way to go before we achieve that. Although we will remain in special measures, I am very pleased that the CQC has recognised that we have made significant improvements over the last few months. This is a tribute to the hard work our staff have put in to understand what wasn’t working, and make changes to benefit our patients.
“Since the CQC were here last summer, we have made the hospital safer, cleaner and more responsive to the needs of patients. Patients are now seen quicker when they arrive at the Emergency Department, see fewer different doctors, and are discharged to the comfort of their own homes quicker.
“But we recognise that there is considerably more to do. We are acutely conscious that we need to address staffing levels and recruit more permanent colleagues to reduce our dependency on agency staff. Having tackled many of the safety and quality issues in the Trust, we also need to turn our attention to making the Trust as efficient as possible. So we will continue to work tirelessly over the next few months to make improvements and ensure we provide the service that the people of Kent and Medway deserve.”
It's been dubbed the worst hospital in the country but after almost three years in special measures, Medway Maritime has now started to make progress. An interim report shows the hospital is safer and leadership has improved. Maternity services are also rated good. However, staff shortages and low morale still need to be tackled. Inspectors say the hospital is now on the road to recovery but it will remain in special measures for the next six months. Tom Savvides has the latest.
Since the end of the Great War the Royal British Legion Industries in Kent has been employing former service personnel to manufacture a range of products.
The aim is to help injured soldiers with their long-term recovery - after their military career is over. Profits go towards helping those who find it hard to re-enter civilian life - and the enterprise has now re-branded itself to reflect the values behind its work. Derek Johnson reports.
Amanda Houston presents the early evening weather forecast for the east of the Meridian region.Read the full story ›
The Thursday afternoon weather forecast for the east of the Meridian region presented by Amanda Houston.Read the full story ›