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Tony Blair to step down from envoy role

Tony Blair will step down from his role as Middle East envoy next month. Credit: PA

The former Sedgefield MP Tony Blair will step down from his role as a Middle East envoy.

Mr Blair has represented the so-called Quartet of powers, which consists of the UN, the US, the EU and Russia, for eight years.

He took on the role immediately after resigning as Prime Minister and MP for Sedgefield in June 2007. He will leave the post next month.

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Blair: EU referendum would take over the country

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair speaking on the UK's relationship with Europe. Credit: Pool

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has said the case for economic separation from Europe "has collapsed" while making a speech on the future of Britain's membership of the EU.

Mr Blair also heavily criticised the Conservatives plan to hold a referendum on Britain's membership if it returns to power.

He said the issue would become "a huge distraction for the country and the Prime Minister - taking over the NHS, education, law and order - the lot".

Cherie in Sedgefield crowd waiting for Blair

Cherie Blair is in the crowd at Sedgefield as people wait for former Prime Minister Tony Blair to make a speech.

Follow our Political Correspondent Paul Brand on Twitter @PaulBrandITV

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Government blames local enterprise partnership for MPs row

The Government has said it was the responsibility of the North East local enterprise partnership to notify an MP of an official visit to his constituency.

Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson accused Stockton South's James Wharton of visiting Mr Wilson's constituency without informing him first. The Stockton South MP said he was only 'dropping off' Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis, and denies taking part in an official visit.

A spokesperson for the Department for Communities and Local Government said:

“The visit was hosted by the North East local enterprise partnership who secured £289.3million from the Government’s Local Growth Fund to support economic growth in the area.

“As part of organising that event the local enterprise partnership agreed to make all local MPs aware of the minister’s visit.”

– Spokesman, Department for Communities and Local Government

Tributes paid to daughter killed in a car crash

A family has paid tribute to a daughter, granddaughter and sister, from Sedgefield, who died when her car left the A177. Ashleigh Quinn, 26, died in the crash at 12:30am on Monday morning.

Ashleigh Quinn died when her blue VW Polo left the road

Ashleigh’s family said: “Ashleigh was a fun loving daughter, granddaughter and sister who will be sadly missed by her family, friends and everyone who knew her.”

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