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Crime Commissioner awarded honorary degree

Northumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has been awarded an honorary doctorate from Northumbria University, forty years after graduating from its predecessor with her first law degree.

Vera Baird honorary degree
Vera Baird returned to her alma mater to receive an honorary doctorate in Civil Law Credit: Northumbria University

Vera Baird was Vice-President of the Student Union at Newcastle Polytechnic, before embarking on a career as a barrister.

She went on to become Labour MP for Redcar in 2001 before being elected as Northumbria's first Police Commissioner.

Firefighters to strike twice a day for eight days

Firefighters will walk out for two hours, twice a day, during eight days of industrial action. The strike is part of an ongoing dispute about plans to raise their retirement age from 55 to 60.

Picket line Sunderland
The picket line at Fulwell fire station, Sunderland, during a previous strike

The government says its proposals are fair, and there are benefits available to anyone who cannot continue in their job because they are not physically capable.

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Skills shortage "means Hitachi will recruit from Nissan"

A government advisor warned that a shortage of skilled workers in the North East of England means the train company Hitachi will have to recruit staff from nearby car manufacturer Nissan.

A Hitachi javelin train Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

The warning was issued by Jim O'Neill, a former senior banker who is now advising the government on how to grow the UK's cities.

Hitachi will create thousands of jobs at its factory in Newton Aycliffe. But there are fears that it will only be able to fill those vacancies by taking staff from the Nissan plant in Sunderland.

Lib Dem President sad to see "good friend" Swales go

The President of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, has posted on Twitter that he is sad to see his "good friend" Ian Swales, MP for Redcar, is standing down at the next General Election.

Swales announced he is standing down in 2015 after just one term in office.

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Sad to hear that my good friend @iswales is standing down in 2015. He should be proud of his record & his key role in saving the steel works

Redcar MP Ian Swales to stand down at next election

The Liberal Democrat MP for Redcar, Ian Swales, has announced he is to step down at the next election, for "personal reasons".

Ian Swales MP
Ian Swales, centre, had been unanimously reselected to stand in 2015 Credit: Ian Swales MP

Swales was elected in 2010 with a huge swing away from Labour, after voters reacted against the loss of 1700 jobs in the mothballing of the Corus steel plant in Redcar.

During the first year of his term in office, the plant was bought by Thai firm SSI and it reopened in 2012.

He said: "It has been an honour and a privilege to represent my local area in Parliament.

"I am proud of what I have achieved so far, especially my role in saving the steel works. I will continue to work hard for the area in my remaining time as an MP."

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North East MP to step down at next election

Ian Swales MP. Credit: Liberal Democrats

The MP for Redcar Ian Swales has announced that he will be standing down at the 2015 General Election for personal reasons.

The Liberal Democrat "It has been an honour and a privilege to represent my local area in Parliament.

"I am proud of what I have achieved so far, especially my role in saving the steel works. I will continue to work hard for the area in my remaining time as an MP."

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