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Money to help enjoy The Queen's Jubilee

*Gateshead and Redcar and Cleveland will get a share of £185,000 to help celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. *

The money will go towards supporting communities to plan and arrange their own Big Jubilee Lunch celebrations, a national event organised by the Eden Project.

Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary announced the funding to ensure people outside of London feel involved in the June celebrations.

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee will run from the 2nd- 5th June.

I'm delighted that the Eden Project is helping the Government ensure that these communities are not left out when it comes to the biggest celebration of the year. By supporting them to take the lead and organise their own Big Jubilee Lunch rather than having it laid on for them, we are paving the way for ongoing community action. People in these areas will realise that together they have the know-how and power to take charge of what happens in their local area.

– Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary

Wearside MP defends Union donations to Labour party

There were angry exchanges in the Commons as the two front benches clashed over the vexed issue of party funding. Labour laid into the Conservatives after party treasurer Peter Cruddas was forced to resign over newspaper allegations about cash for access.

In turn, Conservative ministers pointed to Labour’s dependence on the unions for most of their funding. The Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson spoke up for the role of the unions and their members but she didn’t get much joy from the Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude.