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David Miliband: 'I gave my brother space to lead'

David Miliband has published his letter of resignation on his website. In it he says that following the leadership election - in which he lost out to brother Ed - he said he took a role on the "frontline" in order to give his brother space and the ability to lead "without distraction".

Labour Party leader Ed Miliband and his brother David. Credit: Press Assocation

He said: "As you know, I see every day the damage this shocking government is doing to our country, and passionately want to see Labour back in power.

"After the leadership election, I felt I could be most helpful to the party on the front line, in South Shields and around the country, rather than on the front bench in Parliament.

"I felt this gave Ed the space and at the same time the support he needed to lead the party without distraction. He has done so with real success, leading a united team that has taken the fight to the Tories.

"I am very pleased and proud that our shared goal of making this a one-term government is achievable."

Read David Miliband's statement in full here.

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David Miliband tweets resignation letter

Labour MP David Miliband has stepped down as MP to become the president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee in New York. He has tweeted his letter of resignation to Alan Donnelly, chair of the South Shields Constituency Labour Party:

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After a great deal of thought I’ve decided to accept the position of President and CEO of @theirc: http://t.co/Hc3U5qZYAE

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South Shields man arrested after alleged threats to kill US schoolchildren

A man from South Shields has been arrested in connection with alleged threats to shoot 200 schoolchildren in America.

It follows an anonymous post on a memorial page on Facebook on Wednesday 6th February.

Northumbria Police have confirmed a 24-year-old man has been arrested on Friday on suspicion of making threats to kill and is currently in custody.

A spokesperson for the force also said there is currently nothing to suggest he posed any physical threat to schools in the UK or in America.

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Nativity finger-biter sent to jail

A father who bit off part of a love rival's finger at a children's nativity play in South Shields has been sentenced to 11 months in jail.

40-year-old Lee Wilkinson fought with Michael Dent at Harton Primary School in December 2011 during which he bit off the tip of Mr Dent's left little finger.

The court heard that the pair had been involved in a long-running feud after Mr Dent had an affair with Wilkinson's wife while he was working away.

"They both attended the school, with Mr Dent arriving in the queue behind the defendant.

When they saw each other, words were exchanged and Mr Dent suggested they go outside to have a fight.

A scuffle broke out and during the fight Mr Dent put his hand in the defendant's mouth.

The defendant then bit hard on the finger. Mr Dent forcibly pulled his hand away and the injury then occurred."

– Bridie Smurtwaite, Prosecutor

Passing sentence Judge Simon Hickey said he was unable to suspend sentence because of the nature of the offence.

Wilkinson admitted wounding and a public order offence.

"I can't suspend the sentence, it must be immediate, although I am very conscious that it will impact on your life and your children.

That is the least I can impose given my duty and what the public must view as a very serious offence."

– Judge Simon Hickey

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