02/02/2014 Midlands Today


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


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


confident that problems with vote`rigging are history. Stephen


Hughes was speaking after the Electoral Commission identified


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


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


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


the details. At the 2004 local elections in


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


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


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


Labour councillors representing two separate Birmingham wards were


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


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


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


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


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


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


manner. The Electoral Commission says it wants every individual to


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


launching an online petition this week calling for a new public


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


prison after being wrongfully convicted of involvement in the


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


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


West Midlands Police to reopen the case.


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


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


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


trapped by the floods. The re`conditioned military equipment


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


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


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


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


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


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


Birmingham today to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Visitors were


greeted with performances from traditional lion dancers and


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


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


and traditional stalwart of festivals of celebration. Chinese


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


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


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


opportunity to wish everyone gongxi facai. Birmingham boasts the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


entertaining Liverpool. More bad weather to come this week.


Sara Blizzard has the Midlands forecast.


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


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


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


minimum temperature out towards Coventry and Warwickshire will be


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


there is more wet and windy weather on the


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