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Tackle poverty, religious figures tell PM as Parliament opens

Canon Chancellor Anna Norman-Walker said deficit reduction must not come at the expense of the poor. Credit: ITV News

As the Queen officially opens Parliament today, senior religious figures in the South West are urging the government to put tackling poverty at the heart of its agenda for the next five years.

Canon Chancellor Anna Norman-Walker from Exeter Cathedral says it's vital the most vulnerable are not forgotten by the Prime Minister. She told ITV News West Country that economic prosperity must be felt across society.


Exeter's Custom House reopens as a visitor centre

Credit: Exeter City Council

Exeter's famous Custom House has reopened as visitor centre. The landmark building, which for centuries was used to collect taxes on goods entering the city, will celebrate the history of the Quay and Canal.

The visitor centre has relocated from the nearby Quay House just across the road to the 300-year-old Custom House.

Credit: Exeter City Council

Exeter Roman baths project rejected for Lottery funding

Plans to uncover extensive remains of a first century Roman bath house in Exeter have stalled after the venture failed to attract funding.

Exeter Cathedral applied for Heritage Lottery funding to reveal the remains under Cathedral Green, which are believed to be the second most important building of their time in the country.

However the charity, which distributes National Lottery money, says more work must first be done to safeguard the future of the Cathedral itself.

Some of the greatest Roman remains in the West Country lie buried beneath Exeter Cathedral Green Credit: PA

We are very naturally very disappointed that our innovative proposal to uncover Exeter's most significant hidden treasure, the extensive remains of a first century Roman Bath house under Cathedral Green, has not been successful in attracting Heritage Lottery funding.

We had worked closely with English Heritage and other key bodies right up to the moment we submitted our bid, and had hoped that the project's vision - one shared by the people of Exeter and its civic and parliamentary leaders - would also inspire the HLF.

– The Very Revd Jonathan Draper, Dean and Chapter of Exeter Cathedral

The Cathedral unveiled details of its Foundations Project in February.

It submitted plans to excavate the remains of the Roman Bath House and hoped to build an underground visitor centre there. It is estimated that the attraction would bring an extra 100,000 visitors to the city each year.

HLF takes its role of investing National Lottery players' money extremely seriously and we only support projects that we are confident can deliver long-term benefits. In this case, we were concerned about the impact the development would have on the Cathedral itself. There was also a considerable partnership funding shortfall.

– Carole Souter, Chief Executive of HLF

Exeter 'yarn bombs' for the Rugby World Cup

The streets of Exeter are being covered in bunting and wool to celebrate the Rugby World Cup later this year. People are being encouraged to take part in 'yarn bombing' - using wool to decorate the city.

Organisers want decorations in white, yellow, red, green and blue - the colours of the teams taking part in the games at Sandy Park.

Exeter to show its rugby colours in time for World Cup

Rugby World Cup games will be played at Sandy Park. Credit: ITV News

Preparations are underway to clad Exeter in bunting and 'yarn bombing'.

The city will be white, yellow, red, green and blue - the colours of the teams taking part in the Rugby World Cup 2015 games at Sandy Park.

A launch event is taking place at Exeter Corn Exchange this afternoon.

Bunting will decorate the city centre to celebrate the upcoming tournament. Credit: ITV News


Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw hopes to be Deputy Leader

Ben Bradshaw wants to be the next Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Credit: ITV News

Former culture secretary Ben Bradshaw has confirmed he is to stand for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party.

The Exeter MP said his "big tent" approach to politics was the only way Labour would attract the voters it needs to win the next election.

Announcing his intention to run, he told his local party: "Labour did badly everywhere and in Wales and England outside London we went backwards against the Tories."

"Labour must and could win the next election, but only if it broadens its appeal by adopting sensible, centre-left politics which celebrate wealth creation and entrepreneurship as vital means of delivering social justice."

"I know I face an uphill task getting enough nominations from fellow MPs to get on the ballot paper. That would be hard for anyone from a part of Britain with so few Labour colleagues."

"But it's exactly because I believe it is vital that we listen to and hear the voices of those members, candidates and defeated MPs from areas that are under-represented in Parliament and where we must win again that I have decided to have a go."

Other contenders tipped to join the battle to replace Harriet Harman include Tom Watson, West Bromwich East MP since 2001, who has reportedly been crowd-funding for his bid, and Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy.

Battle to end homophobia not over, say campaigners

Last year's gay pride Credit: ITV News

Equal rights campaigners say that battle to end homophobia is still to be won.

Tomorrow Exeter hosts its annual Pride event - celebrating diversity and challenging stereotypes. Organisers say it's important that Exeter's LGBT community is seen as part of the city's wider culture.

Pride has evolved in a sense beyond being a form of protest to being a form of celebration. And for us in Exeter Pride we do put an emphasis on the LGBT community itself, but also on our families, our friends and supporters and the wider community.

– Robert Reevy, Secretary, Exeter Pride
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