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The West Country at Westminster with Alastair Stewart

Catch up with this month's political show - The West Country At Westminster - presented by Alastair Stewart.

He's joined by Adrian Sanders, Liberal Democrat MP for Torbay, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Conservative MP for North East Somerset, Labour's PPC for Kingswood Jo McCarron, and UKIP's PPC for N Devon and party chairman Steve Crowther.

Among the issues being discussed are : the rise of UKIP and calls by some Tories for a possible pact, Taunton Deane MP Jeremy Browne's recent surprise announcement that he's to step down at the next General Election.

Where does that leave the local Lib Dems? And following Ed Miliband's recent faux pas at his party conference, when he forgot to mention the deficit, are there any political gaffes our guests have made that they'd rather forget?

369 jobs to go at Cornwall Council

The Chief Executive of Cornwall Council, Andrew Kerr wrote to tell staff of the job losses today. Credit: ITV West Country

EXCLUSIVE: ITV West Country can reveal that nearly four hundred jobs are to go at Cornwall Council.

369 posts will be lost, 280 of them compulsory.

The council wants to make the savings by the end of next March.

Staff and unions have been told the news this morning in a letter from the council's chief executive Andrew Kerr.

Mr Kerr says in a letter to staff that the cuts will save £31 million.

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Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust fights funding cuts

Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust which manages green spaces and the marine environment has lodged a petition with the local council with over 4,000 signatures protesting at plans to cut funding by 50%

Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust petition is delivered to Torbay Council Credit: TCCT

To date more than 4180 signatures have been raised since the petition began on October 3rd. The number of signatures is more than 3 times the number required to ensure the petition motion will be discussed at the next Council meeting on October 30th.

’I'm glad that so many people of Torbay have stood behind this petition. Our green spaces and coastline are integral to the beautiful place we live in and we need to protect this for future generations’.

– Jill Ward,Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust

Local govt campaigner takes his fight to Somerset CC

David Orr is campaigning for a fairer system in local government Credit: ITV News

A local government campaigner will speak to Somerset County Council today to try to persuade it not to arrange long term appointments with people who work for their own limited companies.

David Orr says the current system allows the very highly paid to pay a lower rate of tax.

Torbay's elected Mayor loses vote of no confidence

Mayor of Torbay Gordon Oliver deselected as Conservative Group Leader for Torbay Council Credit: ITV West Country

Torbay's elected mayor has been deselected as leader of Torbay council's Conservative Group.

Over a thousand people signed a petition calling for a vote of no confidence in Gordon Oliver - which he lost this evening. This does not effect his position as Mayor.

Browne resignation: Analysis from Bob Constantine

Our Political Correspondent Bob Constantine on Jeremy Browne's shock resignation:

Jeremy Browne's decision to retire at the next election - and not contest the Taunton Deane seat he's held since 2005 - gives the Liberal Democrats a real headache. Taunton is a marginal seat, with the Conservatives anxious to overturn his majority of just under 4000.

He says in a letter released on Twitter that he wants to do something different, adding "I have come to the conclusion that in national politics, my time is run", though he doesn't really explain what's led him to that conclusion.

Intriguingly, he adds that he's not about to defect to another party - presumably a reference to the Conservatives, rather than UKIP. For Mr Browne has always been on the libertarian right of the Lib Dems - putting him at odds with many activists, who argue for stronger state control. He told me back in April that he didn't want the Lib Dems to be defined purely by their opposition to the Tories.

Mr Browne - once touted as a possible party leader - was deeply hurt when Nick Clegg sacked him as a Home Office minister a year ago. But unlike his Somerset neighbour, David Heath, who's also stepping down, he waited till now to announce his retirement, giving little time for a new candidate to get established. A spokesman for Nick Clegg praised Jeremy Browne's "strongly held views, which he expressed with great skill and conviction" - something of a double-edged compliment, perhaps.

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Former MP: Browne resignation timing 'really bad'

It's good that MPs don't think being a Member of Parliament is a job for life. [...] What I think is really bad about this particular case is to give the local party six months before a general election in which to find a good candidate and fight a good campaign."

– Jackie Ballard, former Taunton MP

Clegg pays tribute to Browne's 'strongly-held views'

Jeremy Browne has announced that now is the right time to announce he will not stand at the next election and the Liberal Democrats wish him all the best for the future. The Deputy Prime Minister regrets the decision that he has taken to leave politics as Jeremy has always had strongly-held views which he has expressed with great skill and conviction.

Jeremy has been a tireless constituency MP for the people of Taunton and served in two important ministerial roles in the early part of this government.

– Liberal Democrat spokesperson
  1. West Country (E)

Jeremy Browne: I am not changing to another party

In a resignation letter to his local Liberal Democrat party, Jeremy Browne MP has set out his reasons for deciding not to stand in the 2015 general election:

"By 2015 I will have been a member of parliament for Taunton Deane for ten years. That is generally long enough to do the same job. It is not my ambition to remain in Parliament until I retire. [...] It is time to do something different."

– Jeremy Browne MP

Jeremy Browne has also stated that he has no intention of changing parties, or taking up any other political role.

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