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Election 2015 School Debate: how you can get involved

As the General Election approaches on Thursday 7 May, ITV News West Country is working with schools to get young people involved in the political process.

Polling research suggests young people are less likely to vote than older people.

There are calls to reduce the voting age to 16 or 17 and in schools the new National Curriculum has greater emphasis on teaching how politics works in the UK.

So what is your school doing in the run-up to the General Election in May?

  • It may be a school debate to fire up lively discussion on a hot topic
  • You might be inviting local politicians to spark an interest
  • Are you holding your own mock election?
  • Some schools make their own video reports on a burning issue affecting young people
  • You could do your own political survey

Whatever your school is doing, we'd love to hear about it as we'll be covering some of the events ahead of the election.

Click here to complete the application form and email it to us at itvwestcountryelection@itv.com

Millions to be poured into potholes

Tackling potholes in Devon Credit: ITV News

£847m will be spent repairing the South West's local roads and their potholes over the next six years.

That's according to the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, who is making the announcement today. The money would be enough to mend 2.7m potholes across the region.

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NFU calls for badger culls to be introduced to Devon & Cornwall

The NFU calls for a badger cull to be introduced to Devon & Cornwall Credit: PA

The National Farmers Union has called for a badger cull to be introduced in Devon and Cornwall to halt the spread of Bovine TB.

It comes as the government outlined its determination to press ahead with the policy after recent culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

274 of the animals were culled in Gloucestershire, falling far short of the amount needed to cut the disease in livestock. In West Somerset, 341 were shot - that's slightly above the minimum target.

In both of the pilot areas, a significant proportion were killed by the more expensive cage trapping and shooting method, rather than "controlled shooting" of free-running badgers - leading anti-cull protestors to argue that the cull was unsucessful. Dominic Dyer from the Badger Trust says that , as a free-shooting trial, the cull has failed.

Mother of three says she'll fight deportation decision

A mother-of-three who is being deported back to Thailand two days after Christmas says she'll fight the decision all the way.

Kingdao Wade has been told she'll be deported on December 27 because she is living here on a visitors visa. Her Brixham family is now locked in a legal battle with the Home Office to see if they can secure a reprieve.

New plans to combat bovine TB will include culling

New plans to combat bovine TB will include the culling of badgers Credit: PA

Further measures to combat bovine TB have been revealed following the announcement of the results of the second year of badger culls.

An action plan for farmers sets out plans to help reduce the risk of disease spread on their farms. There will be a new service giving farmers within the badger cull areas bespoke veterinary advice on TB management.

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss says the new approach will continue to include culling.

During the last parliament bovine TB rates in England soared to the highest in Europe. That is why we taking strong action in pursuing our comprehensive strategy, including tighter cattle movement controls, vaccinations and culling.

The Chief Vet’s advice is that results of this year’s cull in Somerset show they can be effective. That is why I am determined to continue with a comprehensive Strategy that includes culling.

– Elizabeth Truss, Environment Seceretary

There are also plans for a consultation on tougher measures for transporting cattle. An online map will show high and low risk areas. The Government has awarded £50,000 in small grants to livestock markets to help them introduce checking systems.

Independently audited results of the badger culls show cull figures for the year, and says that levels of humaneness and a high standard of public safety were maintained. In Somerset 341 badgers were removed - exceeding the minimum target.

Devon family could be torn apart this Christmas

Kingdao and Andy Wade and two of their children. Credit: ITV News

Three Devon children face losing their mother just after Christmas because she is due to be deported.

Kingdao Wade has been with her family in Brixham on a visitor visa from Thailand.

She should have a spousal visa - but new rules make it impossible for her and her husband Andy to qualify for one until at least May. She is due to be deported on December 27th.

I will fight every way, all the ways I can, for the right for my family to be together and for my children to have their loving mother.

– Andy Wade, Kingdao's husband

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Funeral of Jeremy Thorpe takes place in London

The funeral of Jeremy Thorpe was held today Credit: ITV West Country, Bob Constantine

The funeral of Jeremy Thorpe took place in London today.

The MP, who represented North Devon for 20 years, died earlier this month at the age of 85, after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.

The service will be held at St Margaret's Church in Westminster. Party leaders past and present attended, as well as Sir Nick Harvey, who inherited Mr Thorpe's North Devon seat.

Party leaders to attend Jeremy Thorpe's funeral

Jeremy Thorpe with his wife during the 1974 General Election campaign Credit: PA

The funeral of former Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe is due to take place in London today.

The MP, who represented North Devon for 20 years, died earlier this month at the age of 85, after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.

The service will be held at St Margaret's Church in Westminster. Party leaders past and present will attend as well as Sir Nick Harvey, who inherited Mr Thorpe's North Devon seat.

West Country MPs pay tribute to Jeremy Thorpe

Tributes have been pouring in for former North Devon MP and Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe who died yesterday after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease.

Jeremy Thorpe leaving the press conference in 1977 in which he talked about his acquaintance with Norman Scott Credit: PA

His political career never recovered after details of an alleged affair with an acquaintance - Norman Scott - became public in the 1970s.

Among those paying their respects to the charismatic politician are St Ives MP, Andrew George and Nick Harvey - who represents Mr Thorpe's old constituency.

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