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Michael Foot memorial unveiled in Plymouth

A memorial to former Labour Party leader Michael Foot has been unveiled in Plymouth.

The memorial, in Freedom Fields Park, was paid for by donations from a public appeal.

The former Labour leader died in 2010 Credit: Seth Conway/ITV News

"The support the appeal has received from Plymouth businesses has been incredible and testament to how popular Michael was" said Luke Pollard, one of the organisers.

Chairman of the Michael Foot Memorial Appeal Peter Jones at the opening of the memorial Credit: Seth Conway/ITV News

Mr Foot served as MP for the city from 1945 to 1955, before going on to win a seat in south Wales in 1960.

"Michael loves benches where he could sit down in a park and read" said appeal chairman Peter Jones.

"It's fantastic that the memorial overlooks Plymouth Sound... he felt that the sea defined the city".

Michael Foot memorial appeal raised £40,000

A memorial to former Labour leader Michael Foot will be unveiled in Plymouth later today at 3.30pm, five years after his death.

£40,000 has been raised for a memorial granite bench which will stand in Freedom Fields.

Labour leader Michael Foot on his morning walk. Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Mr Foot who passed away in 2010, was the MP for Plymouth Devonport for many years and was born in a house which overlooked the park.

The Labour leader was also a keen Plymouth Argyle fan.

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Cornwall reacts to plans for devolved powers

It gives us that recognition that we can do things for Cornwall in Cornwall, that we do have the ability to control billions of pounds worth of investment and delivery in Cornwall, and that can be Cornwall decisions for Cornish people.

– Councillor John Pollard, Leader, Cornwall Council

The step is important, it is symbolic but it really really doesn't go anywhere near far enough for Cornwall so we've just got to build on this, keep the momentum up and really just keep pushing until we get really significant powers for Cornwall.

– Councillor Dick Cole, Leader, Mebyon Kernow

When people have had a bad experience it's when services aren't working together effectively, when there are gaps in services or there is confusion about whose providing what, so I think for patients what they want to see is services that are joined up, and that's what we'll be wanting to make sure happens as the plans develop.

– Jayne Howard, Healthwatch Cornwall

Cornish Lib Dems: 'We need to control second home ownership'

St Ives has a high proportion of holiday homes Credit: David Davies/PA

Liberal Democrats in Cornwall have criticised the Prime Minister for failing to give the county powers to put a levy on holiday homes and limit the number of second homes.

The party which comprises the biggest group on Cornwall Council says it welcomes David Cameron's announcement to give more powers locally but says it's bitterly disappointed that they don't go far enough.

Lib Dem Cllr Edwina Hannaford said the Government had failed to address a bias which leaves the county with less cash than urban areas.

“Although there is much to commend in the deal, I am profoundly disappointed that the Government didn’t respond to our demands for powers to control second home ownership by allowing us to charge an additional levy. This levy could be used to delivery truly affordable homes for local people.

“I cannot believe the Conservative Government have ignored our demands for powers to limit the number of second homes. Second homes not only contribute to rising house prices in coastal hot spots, pushing homes out of the reach of local families, but they impact on the viability and vitality of those communities.

“I also can see nothing in the package to redress the unfair bias that central Government shows towards rural areas like Cornwall. We receive £49 million less funding compared to urban areas.”

– Cllr Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall Council

New Cornish MP: 'South West needs a fairer deal'

New St Ives MP Derek Thomas Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

A new Cornish Tory MP has told the Commons to "watch this space" as his party's bloc of South West colleagues are "untethered" in their ambition to get a better deal for the region. Derek Thomas, who took St Ives in Cornwall from Liberal Democrat Andrew George, said the Tory MPs who represent all South West seats bar one have a shared sense of unity, purpose and determination.

Following the wipeout of the Lib Dems in the region, Mr Thomas said the new group would be a strong voice for farmers and fishermen as well as attempting to improve healthcare and policing.

He was making his maiden Commons speech in a debate on English votes for English laws.

"It is my hope that together we can get a fairer deal for our schools, a better deal for healthcare services and a better deal for policing. Together we can be a strong voice and champion for farmers and fishermen in our beautiful place of the South West.

"Our ambition is untethered and suggest to the world to watch this space."<

– St Ives MP Derek Thomas

PM announces news powers for Cornwall

The Prime Minister has announced new powers for Cornwall Credit: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire

The Prime Minister has announced major new devolution powers for Cornwall. They include rights to decide where money is spent on public transport, jobs training and support for businesses. But critics say the new powers are not enough.

Writing in the Western Morning News, David Cameron said he was going to make Cornwall the first county outside a major city to benefit from major devolution. Further details here.

"Powers once wielded 300 miles away in Westminster will now be held right here. Cornwall will decide who runs its buses. It will be able to reshape adult training. When the EU gives money to the county, you will decide how it’s spent.

"You will be able to unlock the geothermal energy under your feet. Your businesses will determine how to support enterprise. There will also be the chance to launch a business case for integrating health and social care here."

– David Cameron

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Government shelves vote on relaxing hunting rules

MPs were due to vote tomorrow on relaxing rules on hunting with dogs Credit: PA

The Government has shelved tomorrow's free vote on relaxing the rules on hunting with dogs. The majority of west country Conservative MPs were due to vote in favour of a motion which would allow full packs of hounds to flush out foxes. At the moment, just two dogs can be used to flush out a fox before it is shot.

The climbdown by the Government follows the SNPs decision to vote en masse against the change. That, combined with opposition from Labour and some Tories, meant there was little chance the new law could be passed.

'Gove effect' leaves the tourism industry out of pocket

Rules brought in by Michael Gove in 2013 mean parents are fined £60 for taking their children out of school in term time Credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA

A tourism business owner says the so-called Gove Effect is forcing her to sell off her holiday cottage.

Sarah Kitson from Lamerton near Tavistock says tougher rules where parents are fined for taking children out of school have had a drastic impact on holiday bookings.

Holiday cottage owner Sarah Kitson isn't fully booked this summer Credit: ITV West Country

It used to be from Easter til October we'd be fully booked but now we've got huge gaps. I've just had three weeks gap in a holiday cottage in Newquay, and it's just not worth keeping the holiday cottages running anymore as a holiday let business.

– Sarah Kitson

The rules brought in by Former Education secretary Michael Gove in 2013 mean parents can be fined £60 a day for taking their children out of school to go on holiday, or even prosecuted for it.

A recent report by the Tourism Society Westcountry said it's costing the industry £87 million a year.

The Tourism Society Westcountry and Visit Cornwall now calling for holidays to be staggered like in other European countries.

Police investigate Devon MP's expenses

Johnny Mercer denies any wrongdoing. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

A Devon MP's campaign expenses are being investigated by the police.

Johnny Mercer, Conservative MP for the Plymouth Moor View constituency, says he is co-operating with the inquiry, which is thought to include the cost of election flyers.

Former soldier Mr Mercer says he has committed no offence and that his expenses were well within the legal limit.

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