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Meet the man who opened Labour's famous "there is no money" letter

The famous letter left by the outgoing chief secretary to the Treasury, which claimed "there is no money", could now end up in the National Archives.

In a new book, David Laws, the former Lib Dem MP for Yeovil, describes receiving the letter from his Labour predecessor Liam Byrne after the 2010 election.

It has been widely quoted ever since, but Mr Laws has kept the original and only shown it once - to ITV.

Mr Byrne has said he regrets leaving this note in the Treasury. Credit: ITV News
Credit: ITV News

Mr Laws told our political correspondent, Bob Constantine, that he may leave it to the Treasury in his will.

Lots of people seem to want it. The National Archives said it was a historic document.

– David Laws

Join us on ITV News West Country tonight at 6 for the full interview with David Laws, as he talks coalition, expenses rows, and the 2015 election wipeout.


Bristol MP to resign if benefit cuts go ahead

Charlotte Leslie, MP Bristol Credit: PA

Conservative MP, Charlotte Leslie says she will resign from her post as Parliamentary Private Secretary if the Government goes ahead with plans to cut disability payments.

Leslie who is the MP for Bristol North West took to twitter last night to voice her concerns over her party's plans. In a reply to another twitter user she said she would resign and vote against the cuts.

It comes after the shock resignation of Iain Duncan Smith as Work and Pensions Secretary.

Duncan Smith quit his post on Friday calling the benefit cuts "a compromise too far." But this was refuted by the Prime Minister who questioned his colleagues reasoning saying he knew the government was going to drop the current version of proposed cuts anyway.

Iain Duncan Smith Credit: PA

MP attacks proposals for an Avon mayor

Credit: ITV West Country

A Tory MP says his colleagues are 'fundamentally opposed' to the government's plans for a so-called Metro Mayor for the West of England.

In yesterday's budget the Chancellor said Bristol and three neighbouring councils would get extra money and spending power if they agreed to an elected mayor for the combined Authority.

But North Somerset's Liam Fox told MPs this amounted to reviving the old Avon county council.

What does the Budget mean for the South West?

As the analysis gets underway for this years budget, here's a summary of how it will affect the South West including further devolution, a reduction of Stamp Duty and extra investment for our broadband:

  • West of England Devolution agreement, including £900m gainshare pot, devolved transport budget and powers over adult skills
  • £19m from Stamp Duty receipts to community led housing schemes in areas where the impact of holiday homes is most acute
  • £5m additional development funding toimprove resilience on the Dawlish rail line
  • Increasing grant funding to £14.5m for ultrafast broadband
  • New Enterprise Zone for Cornwall
  • £3m to improve rail station facilities
  • £2m to refurbish the Hall for Cornwall in Truro


The return of Avon: Osborne announces devolution plans

Chancellor George Osborne has announced plans to devolve greater political powers to the West.

The West of England Combined Authority - consisting of the four councils in the old Avon county council area - will be given a greater say in how they spend their money.

The deal is tied to having an elected mayor which will be in charge of the Avon area and would sit above the Bristol mayor.

The Budget 2016: Flights & fuel

Bristol airport could lose millions of pounds worth of business if Cardiff is able to scrap the air passenger tax Credit: PA

As George Osborne prepares to unveil this years budget, people across the West are bracing themselves for a hike in fuel prices and a potential blow to the local economy.

Bosses at Bristol Airport are waiting to hear if the've won their campaign against lower air passenger taxes in Wales.

MPs from across the West have written to George Osborne urging him not to use today's Budget to devolve control over the air passenger tax to the Welsh Assembly. They fear this could lead to it being abolished at Cardiff airport, enabling it to undercut Bristol.

The fallout from this could seriously impact the tourism trade.

George Osborne might increase fuel duty in today's budget Credit: PA

West MPs are also calling on the Chancellor not to raise fuel duty in today's budget. Mr Osborne is thought to be considering a rise of a penny a litre from April, or possibly more, to help reduce the deficit.

But Conservative MPs in rural areas say it would hit their constituents hardest and warn that it would not get voted through Parliament:

People rely disproportionately on private cars for their leisure and their business because there is unfortunately a declining public bus service. .

– Geoffry Clifton Brown MP, Cotswolds

'We'll do our best for everybody': BANES council system to remain after referendum

Voters in Bath and North East Somerset have firmly voted to keep the current system of a leader chosen by fellow councillors.

All the political parties, and the area's two MPs, had opposed the change to an elected mayoral system, such as that held in Bristol by George Ferguson.

Cllr Tim Warren says the low turnout was "a shame" - but that few people seemed to be interested in the idea of a mayor.

He's promised to do his best for everyone, including the 8000 people who wanted to change the system:

I think its not perfect, but it's as good as we can get for now, and we'll do our best for everybody including the 8000 people who wanted the change.

– Cllr Tim Warren, Conservative council leader
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