02/02/2014 Midlands Today


02/02/2014

The latest news, sport and weather for the Midlands.


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on the BBC News Channel, and I'll be back with

:00:00.:00:07.

Good evening. The Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council says he's

:00:08.:00:11.

confident that problems with vote`rigging are history. Stephen

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Hughes was speaking after the Electoral Commission identified

:00:15.:00:16.

Birmingham, Coventry and Walsall as problem areas. The Commission wants

:00:17.:00:21.

to make voters bring photo ID with them to polling stations to

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eliminate fraud. BBC WM's political reporter, Kathryn Stanczyszyn, has

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the details. At the 2004 local elections in

:00:30.:00:32.

Birmingham, a vote`rigging scandal rocked the political world and made

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headline news. Boxes of evidence, a demonstration and an historic

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occasion ` the first electoral court to be held in Britain in 30 years.

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Labour councillors representing two separate Birmingham wards were

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involved in a postal vote fraud a judge said would disgrace a banana

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republic. It led to political mudslinging and public protests. Raj

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Rattu is a community activist in Aston, one of the wards where the

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election had to be re`run. Here in Birmingham, we want free and fair

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elections. We want people to vote according to who they want, not

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because they are being forced or coerced into voting in a particular

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manner. The Electoral Commission says it wants every individual to

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register to vote themselves, rather than one person in the household

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doing it. It is something that is already being brought in from June.

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It also wants every voter to have ID at the polling station ` something

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like a passport or driving licence. And it is bringing in a stricter

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code of conduct for candidates, saying they must not handle ballot

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papers. Birmingham City Council says it has already brought in tighter

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controls. The Electoral Commission comes and looks at what we're doing

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in order to learn how to improve things. We have certainly turned it

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around. Speaking on Sunday Politics in the Midlands, the Electoral

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Commission says voter ID is crucial in places like Birmingham. The time

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has come to change the system, which was originally invented in the 19th

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century when fewer than half of the adult population were even allowed

:01:59.:02:03.

to vote. In those days, you relied on people to recognise imposters.

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Nowadays, that's much harder. People are surprised you don't have to

:02:08.:02:11.

provide ID. Electoral fraud has not gone away. Police say they

:02:12.:02:21.

investigated 21 cases in 2012. One of The Birmingham Six is

:02:22.:02:24.

launching an online petition this week calling for a new public

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inquiry into the 1974 pub bombings. Paddy Hill spent sixteen years in

:02:28.:02:30.

prison after being wrongfully convicted of involvement in the

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attacks, which killed 21 people. He's also supporting a campaign led

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by the family of Maxine Hambleton, who died in the bombings, to get

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West Midlands Police to reopen the case.

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The Environment Agency has warned that another storm is due to hit the

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Midlands on Tuesday, with up to an inch of rain. Today, two amphibious

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vehicles were sent to Somerset by a Staffordshire company to help people

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trapped by the floods. The re`conditioned military equipment

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can carry people and supplies. They've previously been used in

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disasters all over the world. They can climb fallen trees,

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stricken trees, up to my chest height. They will be able to just

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climb over an obstacle. You can't do that with a tractor and trailer.

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They also have a very light footprint over sodden ground, so

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farmers don't need to be worried. Thousands of people gathered in

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Birmingham today to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Visitors were

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greeted with performances from traditional lion dancers and

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musicians. The event was organised to welcome in the Year of the Horse.

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Lindsay Doyle reports. The lion, the symbol of protection,

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and traditional stalwart of festivals of celebration. Chinese

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New Year in Birmingham, heralding in the Year of the Horse. The crowd is

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tremendous today, and I welcome everybody to come in and celebrate

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Chinese New Year with the Chinese community, and may I take the

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opportunity to wish everyone gongxi facai. Birmingham boasts the

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second`largest Chinese population in Britain, and a campaign has begun to

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raise ?1 million to build an arch. Other major cities such as Liverpool

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and London have an arch. The proposed Birmingham arch would act

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as the focal point for the entrance to Chinatown. They used to say that

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Manchester had the best Chinese quarter, but Birmingham does. I

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think when we get the arch, and I think there will be an arch here,

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that will help complement what is a very successful Chinese quarter in

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Birmingham. It is thought more than 20,000 people have joined in today's

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festivities. We're loving it already. Yes. The smell of the food

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` amazing. Everybody's coming together, eating Chinese food. I'm

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amazed how busy it is. The stalls and everything add a bit extra to it

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as well. In Chinese mythology, the Year of the Horse is the year where

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people stick to their principles, a year when businesses can turn their

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fortunes around for the better. The next major event in the Chinese

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calendar will be in June, as part of the campaign to raise money for the

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arch. Very nice. One football result to bring you,

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and in the Premier League, a 1`1 one draw for West Bromwich Albion

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entertaining Liverpool. More bad weather to come this week.

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Sara Blizzard has the Midlands forecast.

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Good evening. We do have a few light showers with us for the early part

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of this evening. It will be a mainly cloudy night. The wind is starting

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to ease as well, so we should not see a frost developing at all. The

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minimum temperature out towards Coventry and Warwickshire will be

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four Celsius. There is also rain quite close by. That comes through

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tomorrow. The occasional shower ahead of that band of rain. It

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starts coming in from the west as we head into the afternoon. The wind is

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also going to strengthen as well, so very wet and windy conditions for

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Monday. Tuesday too, this deep area of low pressure starting to develop.

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That will affect the weather through Tuesday into Wednesday. Gale`force

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winds are likely, and obviously the opportunity for further flooding.

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Just time to tell you ` Countryfile, at 7:00pm, comes from

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Worcestershire. The national forecast is next. Bye`bye.

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Good evening. Most of us have had a fine Sunday with some sunshine, but

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there is more wet and windy weather on the

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