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Peter, thank you. That's all from the BBC
Here in the Midlands... Time to draw a line says David
Cameron after this stag party cost an MP his political career.
He behaved wrongly, he has admitted that and we should move on from
that. And hailed a hero ` the security
guard who fought off a gang of robbers who were armed with an axe.
One year after the Stafford Hospital in quarry and Europe report assesses
how its findings have changed the NHS.
All of us are focused on what Francis has said and all of us don't
want that to happen in our hospitals, so it has had an impact.
A moment to treasure for the rest of his life ` a Solihull speed skater
chosen to carry the GB flag at the Winter Olympics.
I did not expect it, I think there were a lot of strong candidates in
our team, great group of guys and girls, so to be selected was
fantastic. And when there's a warning up you
know it's serious. It's wet out there ` very wet, and set to get
even wetter before the weekend. Want to know more? Then join me later.
Good evening. The Prime Minister says Cannock Chase MP Aidan Burley
has done the right thing by standing down. The MP himself has thanked
constituents for their overwhelming messages of support. He decided to
go in the face of continuing controversy over a Nazi`themed stag
night ` something he says he deeply regrets. In a moment, I'll be
discussing the fallout from Mr Burley's decision with our political
editor Patrick Burns. But first here's Joanne Writtle.
David Cameron at a Birmingham school with football pundit Gary Lineker.
But with the political storm over Aidan Burley's decision to quit
blowing right to the top, the PM spoke out.
I think he has made the right decision. He worked very hard in
Cannock, particularly on issues like the hospital. Obviously there was
that report by David Gold fund found he had `` that found he had behaved
foolishly and wrongly and that is why he has made this decision, which
I think is the right decision, and we should move on from that.
Aidan Burley was a Tory golden boy, winning the Cannock Chase seat in
2010 with the biggest swing in the country, ending 18 years of Labour
in Cannock. But he was sacked as a ministerial
aide after being filmed at a Nazi`themed stag party.
In his constituency today, his decision to stand down as MP at the
next election was big news. He knew better than to get involved
in that, surely! He is so young, and I am sold remember everything.
He has been a good MP for the area, particularly when we had the trouble
with the hospital. He supported the hospital all the way.
Meanwhile, out canvassing, a man most likely to benefit from Aidan
Burley's move ` Labour election candidate Janos Toth.
He has brought shame to our constituency with the antics he
carried out in France. What do I mean by that? We find out recently
he purchased a Nazi uniform that he gave to the groom who he was the
best man for and then they went partying in France.
In the party there is great support for Aidan Burley, with many
respecting him as a hard`working MP. At his constituency office in
Cannock it was business as usual today, with Mr Burley himself saying
in a statement, I am pleased it is all behind me now and I am pleased
to serve the people of Cannock Chase over the next 15 months.
Aidan Burley spearheaded the campaign to save Cannock Hospital
from closure and ran local jobs fairs. But it's unclear what he'll
do next, though one man was awash with new ideas.
It might be best for him to perhaps start again at something else. He
can have a job with me if he wants! For now though, Aidan Burley will be
MP until the next election. And our Political Editor Patrick
Burns is with me now. Obviously Aidan Burley has been under intense
pressure. Was the timing of this decision last night a surprise or
was there an element of inevitability about it?
I think, really, events had moved decisively against him. First of
all, that Conservative Party report we were hearing about which branded
his actions stupid and offensive. No less significantly, the Sunday
papers that signalled their determination not to let go of this.
There comes a point where it is a political judgement, irrespective of
the merits of the arguments on either side. Is it possible any
longer to limit the damage or will he forever beat high as the man
involved in that notorious stag party? `` will he forever be tagged.
One MP whose family lost loved ones at an Nazi extermination camp thinks
this decision has not come one moment too soon.
I think it wouldn't have come to this if, over two years ago, after
this party, he had told the truth about what had happened, his role in
it, and if he apologised properly at the time I think it would never have
to write on. It would never have got to this, it would have been dealt
with at the time, I think. It is a shattering fall from grace
for someone who was a rising star in the 2010 intake.
He achieved the result of the election for the Conservatives, a
14% swing in Cannock Chase, a staggering result. He rose very
quickly, influential on changes to the police services and towards the
end he was actually Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Private
Secretary `` Transport Secretary Tony was really on his way before
that trip to the French Alps. Where does this leave his
constituents for the next 15 months? Well, the Labour council leader in
Cannock Chase says he should go now because they would otherwise have a
lame`duck MP, but frankly during the latter stages of any Parliament
there are plenty of MPs serving out their time, including many who have
actually been deselected. That is not a fate that has befallen
Aidan Burley and I am sure he will be an active MP and determined to
see this out to the end. Coming up later in the programme...
Reservoirs overflowing and adding to flooding fears, with even more rain
on the way. A security guard has been hailed a
hero after fighting off a gang of robbers who were armed with an axe.
The police cordoned off a road in Dudley, where the attack took place.
The thieves were trying to get money being delivered to a bank ` a so
called cash in transit robbery ` a type of crime that is on the
increase again. Our special correspondent, Peter Wilson has this
report. This is the security guard working
for G4S who refused to hand over a box of cash. Three men pounced as he
delivered the money to Barclays bank in dudley. `` Dudley. They were
armed with an axe. The security guard suffered minor bruising and
asked us to protect his identity. The cash vans are very well
protected. It's the guards walking from their vans which are often the
weak link. It was like a fight, they were
fighting, I thought, until I got up and had a look and it was more the
gentleman trying to pool something off him, of the security man. The
cash box? Yes, he was trying to pull it off and get hold of it.
He had something in his hand, as well. I don't know what it was, like
an axe. Hours after the attack, the security guard remained at the scene
helping the police with their investigation.
The security guard would not give me his name. He did say that he was in
his mid`50s, that he was a family man and that he had been determined
not to give that cash box to the Raiders. I said to him that,
clearly, he had been a hero. He said he was simply doing his job. Painful
memories. Watching the crime scene, Rod
Phillips. 20 years ago he was held up by armed robbers while delivering
cash. The advice usually is not to resist.
We were taught not to argue with shotguns or baseball bats or
anything like that. What injuries did you receive?
I received an injured shoulder by a baseball bat.
Armed police sometimes escort security vans delivering cash.
Nationally, in some areas cash in transit robberies have doubled. But
the raiders today fled empty`handed. Parents of children at a Redditch
nursery, where a member of staff was arrested, are meeting police this
evening. An employee at the Crabbs Cross branch of Bright KIDS was
arrested earlier this week and released on bail after a parent
contacted officers. The West Mercia police say they have no ongoing
concerns for the welfare of children.
Hospitals are more focused on quality of care, but the regulation
is still complex and confusing. That's the view of independent
research to coincide with the first anniversary of the publication of
the Francis Report into the failings at Stafford Hospital. Our health
correspondent, Michele Paduano, has been to see what has changed in the
health service in the last 12 months.
These are the people on the front line that make the difference. 60%
of all care is provided by health care assistants. In Stoke`on`Trent,
they are now being taught about dementia and how to stimulate
elderly patients' memories. And one time we were not getting
much training, but this has opened a few doors for us, so we are getting
a lot more training and, like I say, the staff is improving all the
time. Giving patients like Joyce Merchant
care and dignity is central. Here they have introduced minimum nursing
levels on wards and the chief nurse sits on a national body looking at
staffing. All of us are focused on what
Francis has said and all of us don't want that to happen in our
hospitals, so it has made an impact throughout the country, no doubt,
and for probably from a field. `` probably further afield.
Nobody is suggesting care is perfect.
91``year`old Mary Bradley had received poor care at Stafford in
the past but is receiving excellent care today. Her daughter says in
Walsall Hospital her mother fell recently and broke a bone. She was
covered in dried faeces. The Trust has apologised, saying her care was
unacceptable. It was horrendous, to say the least.
It was traumatic, it was even worse than deja vu, because with Stafford
it was a hygiene problem. With Walsall come across`the`board care
was appalling. It's a picture that Ken Lownds, who
twice met the Health Secretary and coined the phrase "zero harm", still
recognises. My feeling on the whole is have
positive but have to disappoint a dad not seeing very ever noticed
signs of other changes. `` very definite signs. For instance,
legislation to bring about the single regulator that the NHS
wanted. Getting the right staff with the right attitude is essential, but
part of the problem at Stafford is finance, how to carry on improving
care with less money. If the circumstances arise where it
is impossible to provide acceptable care with the money there, it seems
to me the people who know that must say so.
You cannot continue to have stories of patients being left in their own
faeces. In hospitals, attitudes are
changing, but it will take time to completely change the culture.
And Michele is outside Stafford Hospital now.
What happened at Stafford seems to have entered the consciousness of
the NHS as a whole, doesn't it? Yes, from the gloom over Stafford
for so long, this is the real ray of hope. Words like duty of candour and
zero harm seemed to be embedded in the NHS and a recent survey showed
82% of hospitals said they had done something as a result of the
Stafford angry and 93% still intend to do so. There are still concerns
about reorganisation, the end of regulation that is complex and
difficult, but one Chief Executives said I would rather be hung now for
the money than for quality of care. The future of the hospital itself is
still undecided and I hear there are new developments tonight?
Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State, is due to pronounce on its future a
few weeks that matter in a few weeks. But a Conservative MP has
written to all GPs in the area as being them for their views as to
what should happen to the hospital. If they do not agree with the
Clinical Commissioning Group, it could result in a challenge. If they
do, it could mean the end for the campaign against the changes. There
are concerns tonight about the viability of the accident and
emergency department? Yes, there has been talk for some
time about reducing the number of hours, apparently around half of the
staff working as nurses in that department are actually non`staff,
because clearly for so long there have been concerns about the future
and many people have been leaving. Obviously that has had an impact on
the way they can do their work. Thank you.
Our top story tonight... Time to draw a line, says David
Cameron, after this Nazi`themed stag party cost the MP for Cannock Chase
his political career. Shefali is ready with your detailed
weather forecast. Also in tonight's programme, what
Juan from crime`ridden streets in Los Angeles had to tell pupils in
Birmingham about the perils of gangs and knife crime.
Once you are in, there is no way out, and if you do get out there and
you live the life where you are at risk, it is duly risky. `` it is
really risky. And we meet the Staffordshire
teeenager with genuine medal hopes in the Winter Olympics.
For consecutive summers, water companies have warned of drought,
but, after one of the wettest months on record, there's now a new issue.
97% of Severn Trent's reservoirs are full, with some overflowing into
already swollen rivers. And, even with 4.2 million homes and
businesses to supply, that's enough water to take us right through until
September, as Ben Godfrey has been finding out.
On the surface, Lake Vyrnwy is a picture of serenity, but look beyond
the dam. Millions of gallons of fresh water
are bursting through and pouring away.
This area of Mid`Wales saw twice the average rainfall in January, and
this Victorian reservoir is completely full.
I have to say, the volume and noise of this water is extraordinary, and
it should find its way into the river seven insurers bray within
around 12 hours. `` River Severn in shrews brief. `` Shrewsbury.
Two years ago, the Midlands experienced water shortages because
there hadn't been sufficient winter rainfall. That won't happen this
summer. Severn Trent says a dozen of its reservoirs surrounding the
Midlands region are already at capacity.
We have enough water now to provide us until September, and that is
without further rainfall. Lake Vyrnwy is almost five miles
long. It's the size of 600 football
pitches and is one of the country's most important environment for
birds. Intense rain can alter habitats `
something the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is trying to
manage. We are feeding the birds twice as
much because they are so hungry, and, yes, they are having a rough
time. We keep on feeding them and we hope it will not affect the bird
count. We have not had any recordings of losses yet.
While this dam is doing it's job successfully, this charge of white
horses is galloping towards the Midlands, bringing an increased risk
of river flooding. A knife surrender is expected to
start in the West Midlands in the next few weeks after a number of
attacks which have cost too many young lives. Pupils at Moseley
School in Birmingham walk past the scene of one such tragedy every day.
So what can be done? We can go over live now to Sarah Falkland. What is
the school doing, Sarah? A lot of it is that good
old`fashioned keeping them on the street and narrow, but that is
easier said than done. A lot of it is also about inspiring kids to do
the best they can. We just wrapped up a talk here tonight, and
18`year`old who delivered it, the current head boy at a public school
in Somerset, and he is not exactly from the kind of background you
might expect. Juan Luquin is a long way from home.
His family are thousands of miles away in Los Angeles. They are
illegal immigrants from Mexico. But he's here in Birmingham as a guest
speaker at Moseley school because of his incredible journey from poverty
to privilege. He grew up in is the notorious South Central part of LA,
where there are over 400 gangs. From the age of six he witnessed regular
shootings and murders. I've seen about three drive`bys. The
most recent one was about five years ago. I was in my house with my
friends and heard gunshots, and you just see him lying on the side of
the car dead. Those types of events stick with you for the rest of your
life. Some students here will never forget
what happened 16`year`old Azim Azam. He was stabbed to death less than a
quarter of a mile from their school. It was shortly after that that a
teacher read about Juan and thought he'd be a good role model.
The best way to keep young people safe and out of trouble is to help
them be successful. The more students are successful and realise
they have a stake in making themselves better and have something
to look forward to in the future, the saver they will be. `` the
safer. After an interview with the the
student newspaper, he will tell an audience of students about how easy
it can be to end up as a victim of crime, or even lose your life, or be
trapped in a gang. If you have problems at home, or
things like that, I know many people who got involved with selling drugs
and things like that to support their families, but without their
parents knowing. They would come back home with money for their
parents. Juan's life could have been so
different. As it is, he has another year as
head boy at Taunton School in Somerset, then it's back home to the
States for University. Just how inspirational was that
speech? With me is the head girl, what did you think about what Juan
had to say? It was very inspiring, especially for our young leaders to
hear about his past. He told us that when he was 16 he
was seeing people getting shot. That is not something you hear about in
daily life and coming from that background, and becoming a head boy
in an established school and being the best you can be, it inspires our
students to be the best they can be. What do you want to do?
I want to be a children's nurse, so hopefully that is what I will do and
I am buried passionate about that. I am going to university for a
degree to work in a children's hospital. Best wishes with that. We
also had a pastor from Birmingham here speaking tonight, there is
quite well`known. If you are wondering how Juan
managed to get to that public school in Taunton, he worked very hard at
school in Los Angeles, became head boy there, and then won a
prestigious scholarship which has paid for everything.
A speed skater from Solihull will carry the flag for Britain at the
opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Russia. Jon Eley says
the honour comes as a complete surprise, and it's a moment he'll
treasure for the rest of his life. Nick Clitheroe reports on how six of
our athletes will form a key part of a British team looking to win more
medals than ever before. Backside double ten!
Wow! Jamie Nicholls! The waiting is finally over for
Britain's Winter Olympians. Although the first events began this morning,
it is tomorrow's opening ceremony which really marks the start of the
drama. And no`one will feel that sense of pride more than speed
skater Jon Eley, who will carry the British flag into the stadium.
It's fantastic, an amazing feeling, I'm just over the moon. I didn't
expect it, there's a lot of strong candidates in the team, a lot of
great guys and girls, so to be selected was fantastic.
This will be Eley's third Olympics. He is joined in the speed skating
team by debutant Charlotte Gilmartin from Redditch.
There are plenty of first`timers on the British team. Like 18`year`old
freestyle skier Rowan Cheshire from Staffordshire. A half pipe gold
medal in a recent World Cup event has raised expectations for her.
I really want a podium, but just being there is a massive goal for
me. I definitely will try my best, but I think the most potential will
be in 2018. Coventry`born Amanda Lightfoot will be first up in the
biathlon on Sunday. 17``year`old Flo Bell from
Birmingham will carry Ireland's hopes in slalom. And there are
Midlands medal chances in the bobsleigh, too, where Ben Simons
from Broseley in Shropshire and Joel Fearon from Coventry compete.
To have come so far in such a short time for me is amazing. I am proud
of myself now, really, blowing my own horn quite a bit, so I'm very
happy. British bobsleigh is going to such a
strong as it has ever been, we have genuine medal contenders in there.
`` is going to Sochi. Britain only won a single medal four
years ago. The pressure is on to win at least
three this time around. Good luck to them all.
On the ninth February 2011, Conrad Lewis from Warwickshire became the
353rd soldier to die in the Afghanistan conflict. Since then,
his family have made sure his memory lives on and he's not just a number.
To mark the third anniversary of his death, they are releasing a charity
single and they're aiming for a place in the Top 40. Ben Sidwell
reports. As we started to withdraw from
Afghanistan, then I think it is vitally important to recognise the
contribution and sacrifice of the other 446 to have died in this
conflict. We want the song to recognise what they have contributed
to our safety and security. Conrad Lewis loved music.
He played both the guitar and drums. So when a family friend wrote words
for a song following his funeral, it was decided the track should be used
to help all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan.
I loved it, and I think the lyrics appeal to anyone, not just someone
who has lost someone from the military complex, but anyone who has
suffered lost. Released three years to the day that
Conrad died, his family, from Clavedon in Warwickshire, are now
trying to get the song in the Top 40 Singles chart.
Just how big is the challenge facing them? To get into the top 40, last
year on average you had to sell 7800 singles. If you wanted into the top
ten it was 30,000. As for number one, this week's number one sold
136,000 copies to top the charts. The song has been recorded by
Warwickshire singer Andrew James at a studio in Bidford on Avon. We
desperately need people to download it.
If we get so many thousand downloads we should... But you really need to
be able to commit and do it, it is not easy.
Anyone who has suffered loss will resonate with the chorus, which is,
because I am still here. The single, appropriately named
Soldier On, is available to download now.
And our very best wishes to Conrad Lewis's family. Brace yourselves.
Let's see how the weather's looking ` don't get excited! Here's Shefali.
Nothing to get excited about, Nick. Worried about, maybe, if you are in
flooded areas, but by now you are probably used to this story. This
warning is in force until Saturday, covering two lots of rain going
through the region now and the next that arise on Friday evening
continues into Saturday. That combination will produce a couple of
inches of rain which is probably quite serious if you are in flooded
areas. It is being driven and generated by a series of low
pressures, which we have seen four days now. The intensity of the low
pressure will determine how much rain we get. The first one is not
too bad but look at this next one from the West on Friday evening.
That in itself looks fairly scary with tightly packed isobars and that
wrap around or collusion. That will bring in rain and following on from
that squally showers through the weekend. This evening, again, just
looking at the chart we know what is going on, wet across most parts.
Some wintering is over the hill tops `` wintry showers. The night will
end on a much drier note with some clearer spells and temperatures
dropping to around four or five Celsius. We started tomorrow with
largely dry weather but also some sunshine developing through the day,
which is nice, because that is only going to be a respite before the
next band of rain heads in from the south`west. In the sunshine,
temperatures rising to around seven or nine Celsius, but winds
increasing all the while. Today they were a lot lighter than yesterday
's, but winds again up to around 30 mph taking the edge of
temperatures, perhaps working up to around 50 mph through the night
tomorrow. As rain sweeps in from the south`west it will be very heavy
during the middle part of tomorrow night, clearing in the first part of
Saturday followed by showers by the `` for the rest of the weekend.
You do wonder when it will ever end, don't you?
Tonight's headlines from the BBC... Not guilty of sex offences ` the
Coronation Street actor William Roache walks free.
One storm followed by another ` more severe weather forecast into the
weekend as the government pledges an extra 30 million for emergency
repairs. Time to draw a line, says David
Cameron, after this Nazi`themed stag party cost the MP for Cannock Chase
his political career. That was the Midlands Today. I'll be
back at 10pm with your latest update. Until then,