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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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Burst water pipe causes flood at Redcar Hospital

Redcar Primary Care Hospital is open, despite floods caused by a burst water pipe.

Pictures show the extent of the floods in the front car park, but clinics were unaffected.

The hospital car park flooded but the hospital is open. Credit: Incidents on Teesside and Co Durham

The mains water pipe at Redcar Primary Care Hospital burst earlier today and flooded most of the hospital car park, which is currently closed.

“The hospital is operating as normal and all services are running as normal. The Pharmacy did close temporarily but has now reopened.

“The flooding is now under control and NHS Property Services is continuing to work in partnership with the local fire brigade, Northumbrian Water and the local council to manage the situation. We would like to thank all the agencies involved for their support – in particular the staff at Redcar Hospital who ensured that patient care was not affected.

“If members of the local community are visiting the hospital, please be aware of the temporary parking difficulties.”

– Spokesperson, NHS Property Services Ltd
The car park is closed because of a burst mains water pipe. Credit: Incidents on Teesside and Co Durham

Man missing from Redcar

Anthony Smith

Police are appealing for information about a missing man from Redcar.

Anthony Smith, 56, was last seen at his home on Trent Road, Redcar, at around 8.30am on February 16. There was a sighting of him on Milton Street, in Saltburn, at around 5.30pm on February 17.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Cleveland Police on 101.

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Redcar & Cleveland Council leader dropped by Labour

Council leader George Dunning and his deputy Sheelagh Clarke have been deselected Credit: Redcar & Cleveland Council

The leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council has admitted his political career is coming to an end, after he was dropped by Labour for the next local election.

Party members decided over the weekend that Cllr George Dunning would not stand for Labour in the Teesville seat he has represented for the last twenty years.

He told ITV News Tyne Tees the news was "devastating" but he had expected it and decided not to fight it. He is now considering retirement.

Dunning's deputy, Cllr Sheelagh Clarke and two other councillors were also deselected for their wards.

In 2013, George Dunning survived a vote of no confidence brought by the Liberal Democrat members of the council.

This time, he said he has no plans to stand independently for the council, or for any other party. He said he felt "totally let down" by Labour.

"We've been put through the mill a few times, but we've always come through. But on this occasion, we didn't come through," he said.

He said he was particularly disappointed with the regional Labour party for not standing up to support him.

The regional party released a joint statement from figures including the Labour MP Tom Blenkinsop and the Chair of the Regional Campaign Forum, John McCormick, saying it was time for a change.

‘It is time for change. Today local Labour Party members have begun choosing a fresh, exciting and committed new team seeking to serve the people of Redcar and Cleveland.

Council Leader George Dunning and Deputy Leader Sheelagh Clarke have served the public for many years with great dedication and have much to be proud of. However, local Labour Party members have today voted to replace them with other candidates for the ward of Teesville.

We have a wealth of talent in the Labour Party and the bar has been set very high this year. The people of Redcar and Cleveland deserve the very best representation that the Labour party has to offer in the local community, and members have chosen some fantastic new local candidates.

We would like to thank all of those councillors who have served but now look forward to working with this excellent new group of Labour candidates who are passionate about their local communities and determined to put right the disastrous consequences of a Tory and Liberal Government on Redcar and Cleveland.’

– Joint statement, Labour Party

Foreign Office: UK strongly opposes the death penalty

The Foreign Office says it's recently made representations to the Indonesian Government about the death penalty. It is offering consular assistance to Lindsay Sandiford who is sentenced to death by firing squad in Bali.

“We continue to offer consular assistance to Lindsay Sandiford and her family at this difficult time. The UK strongly opposes the death penalty in all circumstances without exception. We have recently made representations about the death penalty to the Indonesian government, and we will continue to do so.”

– Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Drugs smuggler 'weeks from death by firing squad'

A British woman convicted of smuggling drugs onto the Indonesian island of Bali may only be weeks away from facing the firing squad, according to reports.

Lindsay Sandiford, 58, was convicted in December 2012 Credit: PA

Lindsay Sandiford, who is originally from Redcar, was given a death sentence after she was found smuggling cocaine worth £1.6m from Thailand.

A Sunday newspaper quotes her sister, Hilary Parsons, who said Sandiford is due to sign an official warrant formally confirming her death sentence tomorrow (Monday, 26th January). It could mean her death is imminent.

Indonesia's new President, Joko Widodo, is known to have a firm stance on foreign drug smugglers. In the last week, five other foreigners and an Indonesian national have been executed by firing squad.

Boris Johnson meets the Indonesian President Joko Widodo in November 2014 Credit: PA
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