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Newcastle MP 'really sorry' as Labour MP resigns

Labour MP Rushanara Ali has resigned from the party's front bench in order to abstain from a vote on military action in Iraq.

She served as the shadow education minister and will continue to be the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow.

Her decision follows MPs voting to back Government plans to join air strikes against Islamic State (IS) in Iraq after more than six hours of debate in an emergency recall of Parliament.

The front benches of the three main parties united over the proposals, which could see the first RAF strikes within hours, and Prime Minister David Cameron's motion was carried 524 to 43, majority 481.

Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central, has tweeted her consolation to Rushanara Ali, saying it was "a tough decision with no right answer".

Youths in Darlington to have their say in Parliament

Young people in Darlington are being urged to vote on which issues are most important to them. Darlington’s Member of Youth Parliament, Danny Brown is leading a campaign to get young people in Darlington to have their voice heard in a national vote.

Young people will be given the choice of 10 pressing issues and asked to choose the one which they feel is most important to them. The votes will then be added up, and Danny, along with the other Members of Youth Parliament will decide which are the most important to raise in Parliament.

The aim is to get 1 million young people to speak out and say what matters to them, with issues as diverse as Euthanasia, youth sport funding and the living wage.

This consultation is a chance for young people to make it known what their priorities are, and to make sure the important issues are discussed in parliament. I hope that I can inspire other young people to take the chance to get involved.

– Danny Brown

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Milliband will visit the North East 'many times' before General Election

Mayor of New York City Bill De Blasio (left), with Labour leader Ed Milliband, before he addresses the Labour Party conference in Manchester. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Ed Miliband has insisted the North East is a priority for his party, though he's hardly been to the region this year, and could not confirm an exact figure of how many times he has visited.

In an interview with ITV Tyne Tees, the Labour leader says he'll be back many more times before the General Election next year.

Speaking to our Political Correspondent Paul Brand, he also said he wouldn't rule out a regional assembly for the North East.

Ed Milliband, before he addresses the Labour Party conference in Manchester. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

PM listens to northern concerns about devolution

PM listens to northern concerns about devolution

- Paul Brand, ITV Political Correspondent

I've just spoken to one of the MPs among the dozen or so backbenchers who met the Prime Minister to discuss concerns about the impact that devolving powers to Scotland would have on England.

James Wharton tells me that three northern MPs - himself, John Stevenson and Rory Stewart, all raised concerns with David Cameron that the north would need to compete with a more powerful Scotland.

They didn't discuss what kind of devolution was needed, but they all agreed that the north required greater powers in order to hold its own. Solutions that James Wharton floated include a regional minister for the north of England, or greater power for Local Enterprise Partnerships.

He tells me that the Prime Minister listened to the concerns and referred back to them when summing up the meeting, with MPs leaving confident about the chance of progress.

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Ed Balls: Labour to cap child benefit rise for two years

Child benefit would see cuts for the first two years of a Labour government, Ed Balls is expected to announce.

The shadow chancellor will say that Labour will cap child benefit for at least two years. Credit: Julian Stratenschulte/DPA/Press Association Images

The shadow chancellor will present a 1% cap on rises in the help for parents as one of the "tough decisions" necessary to deal with the deficit if the party takes power next year - claiming it will save the taxpayer £400 million over five years.

He will seek to soften the blow by cutting ministers' pay by 5% and then freezing it until the party is able to "balance the books".

Addressing activists at the Opposition's final annual conference before the general election in May, he will vow not to "flinch from the tough decisions" needed to deal with the economy.

He will tell the Manchester gathering:

I want to see child benefit rising again in line with inflation in the next parliament.

But we will not spend money we cannot afford. So for the first two years of the next parliament we will cap the rise in child benefit at 1%.

It will save £400 million in the next parliament. And all the savings will go towards reducing the deficit.

– Ed Balls, Shadow Chancellor
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Labour activists gather for party's annual conference

Labour activists will gather today ahead of the start of the party's annual conference following Scotland's decision to reject independence.

Ed Miliband has arrived in Manchester ahead of his party's annual conference. Credit: PA Wire

Ed Miliband arrived in Manchester as Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to ensure English MPs were the only politicians allowed to vote on issues that affect England.

But Mr Miliband said he wants a national debate on the issue of constitutional reform.

Any moves to restrict Scottish MPs' votes on English matters could undermine any future Labour Government.

The Labour event is due to begin with a women's conference as Deputy Leader Harriet Harman, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper and shadow equalities minister Gloria De Piero all address activists.

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  1. Paul Brand, ITV Political Correspondent

Referendum reaction: What's next?

Scotland has said no to independence, rejecting the Yes campaign's vision to break away from the UK.

45% of people voted yes but 55% said no. Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond has announced he is resigning. He will step down in November.

But what does the result mean for us, in the North East of England?

David Cameron has already promised more say for the English regions and today there has been a clamour of calls for the North East to have far greater control of its own affairs. We will be looking at that in more detail in a moment.

ITV Political Correspondent Paul Brand looks at the reaction in Westminster, and what happens next:

Referendum reaction from the North East economy

As we take in the political implications of the referendum result, the North East business community is assessing the economic impact on our region.

Overall, firms say the No vote provides much needed stability, but there are still questions to be answered about the road ahead.

Helen Ford examines the reaction of the North East economy:

View from border: Berwick's reaction to the referendum

Aside from the economic and political arguments, nowhere in the North East region has been more aware of the implications of the referendum result than the town of Berwick in the far north of Northumberland.

Kenny Toal has spent the day there, following Scotland's decision to reject independence:

Referendum reaction: The North East economy

Further devolution in Scotland without similar powers for the North East could be bad for business, according to one of the region's leading business figures.

Fergus Trim, Development Director at Quorum Development Partners, said: "If we can mirror what's being offered in Scotland and take more control of the economy here, then that will be positive for us."

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