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Unison backs Jeremy Corbyn's Labour leadership bid

Jeremy Corbyn has gained support from Unison Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

Unison has backed Jeremy Corbyn's bid to become the new Labour leader.

The trade union's leaders announced today that they had decided to nominate Corbyn as their pick for Labour party leader, with Yvette Cooper confirmed as the union's second choice.

Unison's general secretary Dave Prentis said:

Jeremy Corbyn's message has resonated with public sector workers who have suffered years of pay freezes, redundancies with too many having to work more for less.

They have been penalised for too long by a government that keeps on taking more and more from them. Their choice shows a clear need for change towards a fairer society where work is fairly rewarded, and where those living and working in poverty supported.

Today's decision is a recommendation and our members are of course free to cast their vote as to who they think should lead the Labour Party.

– Dave Prentis

Sewel case restarts debate on reform in House of Lords

The Lord Sewel case has restarted the debate about reform in the Upper House.

There have long been concerns the House of Lords is too big, having more than 800 members and plans to appoint more.

Rules about when Lords should retire and if peers should be elected rather than appointed rage on.

ITV News' Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship reports:


Lord Sewel is first to take peer's walk of shame

Lord Sewel brought in the new rules and is the first to exit under them. Credit: PA

Lord Sewel is the first peer to quit the House of Lords since the introduction of new rules allowing members to resign, retire or be expelled for wrongdoing.

Since the passage of the House of Lords Reform Act 2014, some 30 peers have retired because they no longer wished to play a role in the House - but Lord Sewel is the first to be forced out by a scandal.

Previously, peers could be temporarily suspended if they went bankrupt or were found guilty of treason.

Tony Benn secured a change of the law in 1963 to allow him to renounce his title so he could serve as an MP.

A handful of peers stood down to retain their non-dom tax status when a 2010 law required members of the Lords to be UK taxpayers.

But in the past it took a special Act of Parliament to actually remove a Lord.

The last time this happened was in 1917, when the Titles Deprivation Act was passed to allow British peerages to be removed from the Dukes of Albany and Cumberland, both German princes who fought in the Kaiser's Army in the First World War.

Under the 2014 Act, any peer sentenced to 12 months in prison is automatically removed from the House.

House of Lords Leader welcomes Sewel resignation

Baroness Stowell said the public had a right to expect certain standards. Credit: PA

The Leader of the House of Lords has welcomed Lord Sewel's decision to resign permanently.

Conservative peer Baroness Stowell said: "For the House of Lords to earn the confidence of the public, all of us must respect the privileges that come with a peerage and recognise that - because we are unelected.

"It is especially important to meet the standards the public have a right to expect, and to act swiftly when we fail."

Lord Sewel stepped down after The Sun of Sunday obtained footage of him allegedly taking drugs with prostitutes.

Lord Sewel's House of Lords resignation letter in full

In a letter to parliamentary officials, Lord Sewel has resigned from the House of Lords following allegations he took drugs with prostitutes.

I have today written to the Clerk of the Parliaments terminating my membership of the House of Lords.

The question of whether my behaviour breached the Code of Conduct is important, but essentially technical.

The bigger questions are whether my behaviour is compatible with membership of the House of Lords and whether my continued membership would damage and undermine public confidence in the House of Lords.

I believe the answer to both these questions means that I can best serve the House by leaving it.

As a subordinate, second chamber the House of Lords is an effective, vital but undervalued part of our political system.

I hope my decision will limit and help repair the damage I have done to an institution I hold dear. Finally, I want to apologise for the pain and embarrassment I have caused.

– Lord Sewel
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