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Nick Clegg refuses to make HS2 a red line

The first part of the High Speed Two line, between London and Birmingham, is due to open in 2026. Credit: HS2

Nick Clegg has refused to make high-speed rail between the north and south a red line in any coalition deal after the election.

In an interview with our Political Correspondent Paul Brand, the Liberal Democrat leader said he supports High Speed Two but would not add it to his list of non-negotiable conditions before entering another government.

Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives all support HS2 but Nick Clegg accused Labour of "ambivalence" over the project. UKIP does not support HS2.

Nigel Farage talks to ITV news Tyne Tees

Nigel Farage has told ITV news Tyne Tees that he thinks that he is going to prove a contender in the 'safe' Labour seat of Hartlepool.

He told Helen Ford during his visit to the town today (April 28) that there is a trend in the North of England of the Labour vote being squeezed by UKIP.

Mr Farage said he would pay for tax cuts by reducing the foreign aid budget and not sending as much English money into Scotland.

And he insisted that it would benefit the country to pull out of the EU.

It is the latest in a series of interviews with senior party spokespeople.

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Ed Miliband talks to ITV Tyne Tees

Ed Miliband has told Tyne Tees that his party is committed to the North East.

In an interview with Ian Payne he defended plans to scrap stamp duty for first time buyers on homes up to 300,000 pounds.

The Labour Leader explained why he believes it will benefit people here, despite cheaper house prices.

Mr Miliband also told us his party would honour projects like the widening of the A1, but only if the money is there.

It is the first of a series of interviews Tyne Tees will be doing with party leaders and senior spokesman.

UKIP launch North East campaign

UKIP have launched their North East campaign today (Thursday) in Newcastle.

It is the first time the party will challenge in every constituency in the area.

UKIP say their business friendly policies would make a big difference to an area with the highest unemployment rate in the country, but admit that they have a tough fight in the North East.

Jonathan Arnott MEP, UKP

Stewart Hay, Conservative, Roberta Blackman-Woods, Labour, and Frank Hindle, Liberal Democrats, respond to the UKIP campaign, which was launched in Newcastle today (Thursday).

Concern over A&E waiting times

The latest NHS England figures show that the majority of health trusts in the North East have failed to deal with A&E patients within the targeted time of four hours.

The statistics show that it is part of a national trend, as more and more people have been using the service.

Our cameras were given access to Newcastle's RVI to see its busiest department in action.

The political parties have been commenting on those figures today.

Labour said the figures were partially due to difficulties in getting to see your GP, while UKIP said they weren't surprised the Conservatives didn't want to talk about the NHS.

The Conservative said, however, that the NHS had had a difficult winter and things were getting better.

The Liberal Democrats said that they were promising extra investment into the NHS.

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Redcar Lib Dem candidate: Nick Clegg visit may be a 'double-edged sword'

The Liberal Democrat candidate for Redcar has swiftly changed his stance after exclusively telling ITV News Tyne Tees that he's not convinced a visit by Nick Clegg to the constituency 'would do him any favours'.

Josh Mason told our Political Correspondent Paul Brand that the Deputy Prime Minister wasn't the 'most popular politician' and that a visit may be a 'double-edged sword':

Shortly afterwards, Mr Mason issued this statement:

Nick has shown real guts as our party leader and is someone I admire and respect…

...I have no doubt that if Nick now came to Redcar and met all the people who have benefitted from having the Liberal Democrats in government he would be well received."

– Josh Mason, Redcar Liberal Democrat candidate

Reacting to Mr. Mason's comments Nick Clegg said, "At the end of the day, I am not going to duck the fact that five years in government has its controversies":

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