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Tag Archives: campaign

Peace fair to welcome 10,000th visitor

AN annual Peace and Crafts Fair is expected to welcome its 10,000th visitor on Saturday.

Held in Saltaire’s Victoria Hall and organised by the Yorkshire Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, the event is in its 14th year, and will run from 10am to 4pm.

There will be 80 stalls featuring work by local artists and crafters, charities and campaign groups. There will also be food, live music through the day and an ethical Santa’s Grotto.

Catherine Bell from the group said: “Our Peace and Craft Fair has become a Saltaire institution, and has grown in popularity over the years.

“From our records, this year we will hit the 10,000th visitor, probably at some point mid-morning, and that person will receive a special gift to mark that milestone.

“We’re delighted to have a Santa’s Grotto that is a bit different.”

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VIDEO: Mum tells of burglary ordeal for crime-busting campaign

Mum-of-two Natalie Starr has recorded five videos telling of her ordeal, which West Yorkshire Police have released on their website.

Mrs Starr’s house was burgled while she was walking her dog with her children, aged four and five. She received a call from one of her neighbours to say she had seen her car being driven away, and returned home to find her house ransacked.

She said: “The biggest upset was actually going through the babies’ things and going through the children’s rooms and thinking there might be something expensive in a toy box or a baby’s memory box. The thing that was actually the most disturbing was when you realise somebody has been in your house.”

Mrs Starr, 35, has now set up a Neighbourhood Watch group.

As part of their new campaign, West Yorkshire Police have put together simple crime prevention advice to help homeowners protect their possessions, backed by a poster campaign.

The three messages are to always remember to lock the door, leave a light on upstairs, and to always set the burglar alarm.

Mrs Starr said: “I didn’t ever believe it would happen to me. I thought I lived in a very safe place, I’m at home a lot and felt very secure.

“We had always talked about adding additional security but felt safe enough for it not to be top of the priority list. They were in the house for 19 minutes, and went through 11 rooms, every cupboard and drawer and the baby boxes to see if anything valuable was in there.

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“The impact has been far more than I ever anticipated.

“After the burglary I was a little scared to be in the house on my own at night. I became a bit neurotic about locking doors behind me and making sure every door was locked in the house.

“We have ordered new gates to make sure it is not so open to see our children playing in the front garden, because you start to worry about other things happening to you as well.”

Police are not revealing the location of Mrs Starr’s home.

See all five videos here.

All eyes on litter louts as new campaign starts in Bradford

A new campaign has been revealed by Bradford Council in a bid to stop people littering around the district.

The new ‘Eyes’ campaign – warning of £80 fines for offenders – has been set up by the Council in partnership with the Tidy Britain Group.

It aims to tackle the problem of people littering on Bradford’s pavements and roads, and to try to change the behaviour of people and make them think twice before choosing to drop their litter on the floor.

Posters will be put up along the roadside around the district and large signs will be displayed on Council vehicles around the ‘Eyes’ theme.

The theme of the campaign aims to build on the success of the Council’s ‘We’re watching you’ campaign which targeted irresponsible dog owners, and led to a reduction in dog fouling across trial areas including Shipley.

The posters will be put up on lampposts in areas where litter is a serious problem, to raise awareness of the issue and make people consider their actions of dropping litter, and to encourage them to put the rubbish in a bin or to take it home.

They will also be fastened to Council litter trucks, which clean up litter and fly tipping across the district.

In some areas, these crews will collect up to 200 bags of rubbish a day, making two or three visits to Council tips.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, executive member for environment, culture and sport at Bradford Council, was on hand at Jacob’s Well to officially unveil the campaign.

She said: “Litter is a significant problem for Bradford, just as it is for many other towns and cities.

“It is very costly and time consuming to clear it up and at a time when Council resources and budgets are being cut.

“If everyone just thought about what to do with their litter rather than throwing it on the floor, it would make a huge difference.”

One hope for this campaign is that it will help the Council’s private enforcement officers, who have been on patrol in Bradford city centre since the summer, in their role to keep the environment clean and free of litter.

Private enforcement officers can issue Fixed Penalty Notices to people who litter, spit, and urinate, as well as Dog Control Order offences.

The campaign will begin in and around Bradford city centre, before being rolled out across the district.

Councillor Simon Cooke, leader of the Conservative group on Bradford Council, said the campaign was a good idea, but we will have to wait to see whether it proves to be a success.

He said: “I think most people would say what we need to do is extend what has been going on in the city centre.

“We need to be a bit tougher, especially on people just dumping stuff out of their cars, we need to be as tough as possible on that.

“To make the campaign a success, we really need to be making sure we use all the powers we have got as a local authority.”

The posters have been created in partnership with the Tidy Britain Group, which has been campaigning against littering across the country for almost 60 years.

Theresa May’s policy board chief George Freeman stands down

George FreemanImage copyright PA

Theresa May’s policy chief is standing down to concentrate on boosting the Conservative Party’s campaigning strength and appeal to younger voters.

George Freeman said the party needed to change after its “ill-conceived” general election campaign.

He warned the PM during the campaign that they risked becoming “a narrow party of nostalgia, hard Brexit, public sector austerity and lazy privilege”.

Labour said his resignation “speaks volumes” about the state of the Tories.

Mr Freeman was originally made chairman of Mrs May’s policy board when she became prime minister in July 2016.

The board was a small group of advisers set up to encourage “fresh thinking” in key policy areas, such as affordable housing. It has not met since the general election.

‘Urgent threat’

Writing on the ConservativeHome website, the Mid Norfolk MP said he would now be focusing on his role as chairman of the Conservative Policy Forum, which was set up in 2011 to give ordinary members more of a say.

In his article, Mr Freeman said he wanted to address falling membership and the “urgent” threat of “a rejuvenated Labour Party” by instigating a “bold programme of Conservative Party renewal”.

This would mean a new party chairman and team at party headquarters to “oversee the intellectual, organisational and cultural renaissance of a conservatism fit to shape and lead us through the 21st Century”.

“Given the deepening disconnection between the Conservative Party, the new generation of aspirational voters under 45 and the new intellectual battle of ideas reshaping our political landscape, this is now urgent,” he added.

He said the party had not yet “framed a coherent economic programme to tackle the underlying economic causes of the injustices which so many voted against in the election” but warned against becoming “Corbyn-lite”, which would only risk “tempting voters to vote for the real thing”.

Labour’s shadow cabinet office minister Jon Trickett said: “For a man who once said that the ‘raison d’etre’ of his role in No 10 was to face the challenge of renewal in office, his resignation speaks volumes on the current state of the Tories in government.”

“He has caught the essence of the Conservative Party in a two-word phrase: lazy privilege.”

High-speed rail campaign “will continue” as key transport board is presented with confidential plans

DRAFT proposals for a new high-speed rail line across the Pennines have been put to a key board of transport bosses.

The plans for a new Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) network, which will go out for public consultation early next year, have now been put to the board at Transport for the North, which has been commissioned by the Government to draw up the scheme.

Although the plans are understood to now include a stop for Bradford, after a high-profile campaign run by the city’s political and business leaders, Bradford Council leader Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe said she was unable to confirm whether this was the case.

But she did say the Next Stop Bradford campaign was far from over. She said one key aspect to the campaign was the call for a high-speed station to be located in the heart of the city, rather than in the suburbs.

She said: “When I talk about the campaign continuing, it will continue from there. First of all, we have to argue for Bradford to be on that line. Secondly, we have to argue for it to be a city centre station over a parkway station. As I say, it’s going to be a long-term campaign.”

A spokesman for Transport for the North said: “Details of the programme have been discussed by the Transport for the North Partnership Board and an agreed emerging vision for Northern Powerhouse Rail will be included in our draft Strategic Transport Plan for the North, which will be published for public consultation by early 2018.”

The spokesman said the final decision on the Northern Powerhouse Rail programme would be taken by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

‘No others involved’ in Gaia Pope’s death

Gaia PopeImage copyright Gaia Pope
Image caption Gaia Pope was last seen in Swanage on 7 November

There were no injuries to suggest “any other person was involved” in the death of missing teenager Gaia Pope, police have said.

The 19-year-old’s body was found on Saturday in a field near Swanage, 11 days after she was last seen.

Dorset Police is treating her death as “unexplained” pending toxicology results.

Three people were arrested on suspicion of murder as part of the investigation and released under investigation.

Det Supt Paul Kessell said: “The post-mortem examination has not identified any injuries to suggest any other person was involved in her death.

“The cause of death is undetermined, pending toxicology. The coroner is involved in the oversight of these examinations but at this time this remains an investigation into an unexplained death.”

Image copyright PA
Image caption Some items of clothing that Miss Pope was wearing on the day she went missing were found on Thursday

Miss Pope, who had severe epilepsy, had not been seen since 7 November.

Her disappearance prompted a massive campaign from family and friends who spent days scouring the town.

‘I am heartbroken’

Items of clothing she was wearing on the day she went missing were found on Thursday, close to where her remains were found near a coastal path.

Police thanked volunteers for their help in searching for the teenager, but have asked people to stay away from the site due to safety concerns.

Det Supt Kessell added: “I reiterate this area is steep and slippery in an exposed area close to sea cliffs. The area is covered in dense undergrowth and gorse and can present a hazard.

“The area where the body was located is likely to remain cordoned off for some time while forensic examinations and searches are concluded.”

Image copyright PA
Image caption Miss Pope went missing in Swanage on 7 November
Image copyright PA
Image caption Flowers have been left in Miss Pope’s memory at a Swanage monument

Earlier, Miss Pope’s twin sister, Maya, spoke of her heartbreak and vowed to “make her [sister] so proud”.

On Facebook, she added: “Can’t find any words right now. Gaia is my everything and I am heartbroken. I thank everyone who was involved in searching for my beautiful twin.”

Her elder sister, Clara Pope-Sutherland, said the 19-year-old was the “light of my life” and “intelligent, beautiful and emotionally wise”.

‘Absolutely devastated’

Floral tributes have begun to be left on the Alfred Monument, next to the sea front.

Family friend Sheri Carr, who organised the Find Gaia social media campaign thanked the public for its support.

“We are absolutely devastated, and unable to put into words our feeling of loss,” she wrote on social media.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The public has been asked to stay away from the site due to safety concerns

On the day she went missing, Miss Pope was seen at about 15:00 GMT buying an ice cream at St Michael’s Garage, having been driven there by a relative.

She was then spotted an hour later on CCTV in Manor Gardens, off Morrison Road.

Rosemary Dinch, 71; her 49-year-old son Paul Elsey; and 19-year-old grandson Nathan Elsey – all of whom were known to Miss Pope – were questioned by detectives and released under investigation.

Controversial leader

Gerry AdamsImage copyright RTÉ
Image caption Gerry Adams is one of the most recognisable and controversial figures in Irish politics

He is one of the most recognisable and controversial figures in Irish politics.

But, after 34 years as president of Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams has announced his intention to step down as leader.

The move marks a historic shift in the political landscape in both Northern Ireland and the Republic.

The 69-year-old Belfast native emerged from the turbulent history of Northern Ireland to become one the island’s foremost figures in republicanism.

To some he is hailed as a peacemaker, for leading the republican movement away from its long, violent campaign towards peaceful and democratic means.

To others, he is a hate figure who publicly justified murders carried out by the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

The paramilitary group is believed to be responsible for about 1,700 deaths during more than 30 years of violence, mostly in Northern Ireland, that became known as the Troubles.

The Sinn Féin leader has consistently denied that he was ever a member of the IRA, but has said he will never “disassociate” himself from the organisation.

Now, following the death of former deputy leader Martin McGuinness earlier this year and Mr Adams’ decision to step down, Sinn Féin and the republican movement is facing a new era.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption During the Troubles, Gerry Adams was criticised for publicly justifying IRA murders

Gerry Adams was born in October 1948 in Ballymurphy, west Belfast, and both of his parents came from families that had been active in armed republicanism.

His father, Gerry senior, had been shot while taking part in an IRA attack on a police patrol in 1942 and was subsequently imprisoned.

Influenced by his father, the young Adams became an active republican while still a teenager.

He worked as a barman at the Duke of York pub in Belfast where he was fascinated by the political gossip traded among the journalists and lawyers who frequented the bar.

Imprisoned

However, as the civil rights movement gathered pace in the late 1960s, the young Adams did not spend long pulling pints.

Soon he was out on the streets, involved in the protests of the time, and in 1972 he was interned – imprisoned without charge – under the controversial Special Powers Art.

According to his own account, he was purely a political activist, but that same year, the IRA leadership insisted that the then 24-year-old be released from internment to take part in ceasefire talks with the British government.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Gerry Adams pictured with IRA man Brendan Hughes in the Maze prison in 1983

The talks failed and were followed by the Bloody Friday murders, when the IRA detonated at least 20 bombs across Belfast in one day, killing nine people and injuring 130.

Acquitted

Security sources believed Gerry Adams was a senior IRA commander at the time, but interviewed after the organisation’s formal apology 30 years on, he adamantly denied this.

In 1977, he was acquitted of IRA membership.

At the height of the 1981 IRA hunger strikes, he played a key role in the Fermanagh by-election in which Bobby Sands became an MP a month before his death.

Two years later Gerry Adams became MP for West Belfast on an absentionist platform, meaning he would represent the constituency but refuse to take his seat in the House of Commons.

Also in 1983, he replaced Ruairí Ó Bradaigh as president of Sinn Féin. Three years later, he dropped Sinn Féin’s policy of refusing to sit in the Irish parliament in Dublin.

Despite the tentative moves towards democracy, the IRA’s campaign of violence continued and Sinn Féin were considered political pariahs.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Gerry Adams played a key role in leading republicans away from an armed campaign towards democratic republicanism

In the late 1980s, Gerry Adams entered secret peace talks with John Hume, the leader of the Sinn Féin’s more moderate political rivals, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP).

Assassination bids

The Hume Adams negotiations helped to bring Sinn Féin in from the political wilderness and paved the way for the peace process.

But treading a line between politics and violence was risky.

In 1984, Gerry Adams survived a gun attack by loyalist paramilitaries, the Ulster Freedom Fighters, in Belfast city centre. He and three companions were wounded but managed to drive to the Royal Victoria Hospital for treatment.

A second murder attempt was made at Milltown cemetery, west Belfast, in 1988 at a funeral for three IRA members. Three mourners were killed but loyalist paramilitary Michael Stone said his real targets were Adams and Martin McGuinness.

The 1993 Shankill bombing confirmed the tightrope Gerry Adams had to walk in order to keep hardline republicans on board with his political project.

He expressed regret for the bombing that killed nine people and one of the bombers, but did not condemn it.

Mr Adams then carried the coffin of the IRA man Thomas Begley, who died when the bomb exploded prematurely.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Gerry Adams outraged unionists when he carried the coffin of IRA bomber Thomas Begley in 1993

But the Hume-Adams talks were beginning to bear fruit. US President Bill Clinton withstood pressure from London to grant Gerry Adams a 48-hour visa for a peace conference in New York. The visit attracted worldwide attention and Adams used it as justification to press on with politics.

The Hume-Adams process eventually delivered the 1994 IRA ceasefire that ultimately provided the relatively peaceful backdrop against which the Good Friday Agreement was brokered.

In 1998, 90% of the party backed its president in taking seats in the new Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont – a remarkable piece of political management given Sinn Féin’s “no return to Stormont” slogan in the 1997 general election campaign.

DUP deal

Mr Adams stayed out of the Stormont power-sharing executive, letting Martin McGuinness take a ministerial post.

When the power-sharing deal collapsed in 2003, Gerry Adams became a key player in the government’s attempts to broker a new agreement between Sinn Féin and their one-time enemies, the Democratic Unionist Party.

The negotiations foundered at the end of 2004, but in October 2006 both Mr Adams and DUP leader Mr Paisley indicated their support for the St Andrews Agreement, drawn up after intensive talks in Scotland.

The deal led to a once-unthinkable situation, a Stormont coalition led by the DUP and Sinn Féin.

A key element of the deal was Sinn Féin support for the police, whom the IRA had once deemed “legitimate targets”.

All-island strategy

It was unthinkable in the days of the Troubles, but persuading Irish republicans to embrace policing was another step on Adams’ personal and political journey between war and peace.

Image caption Gerry Adams helped to negotiate the St Andrews Agreement, leading to a once unthinkable political deal involving the DUP and Sinn Féin

In January 2011, Gerry Adams formally resigned as West Belfast MP in order to run for election in the Republic of Ireland.

The move was believed to be in response to fears that the party was too narrowly focused on Northern Ireland and needed to boost its all-island strategy.

The following month, he was elected as a Teachta Dála (member of the Irish Parliament), representing the border constituency of Louth and East Meath.

Sex abuse

However, closer to home, personal turmoil was unfolding in the Adams family.

His brother, Liam Adams, was publicly accused of rape and child sexual abuse. The allegations were made by Liam Adams’ adult daughter Aine, who waived her right to anonymity in a bid to bring her father to justice.

Gerry Adams publicly named his own father as a child sex abuser as he spoke about the impact the allegations had made on his whole family.

He then became embroiled in the police investigation, when it emerged his niece had told him she had been abused several years earlier.

The Sinn Féin president said his brother had confessed the abuse to him in 2000 and added that he made his first report to the police about the allegations in 2007, shortly after his party voted to accept the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

In 2013, Liam Adams was jailed for 16 years for raping and abusing his daughter over a six-year period.

The following year, Gerry Adams was arrested by detectives investigating the 1972 murder of Belfast woman Jean McConville.

‘Innocent’

The widowed mother-of-10 was abducted by the IRA in 1972 and later shot dead and secretly buried on a County Louth beach.

Mr Adams said he was “innocent totally” of any involvement in the killing.

He was questioned for four days, before being released without charge. The PSNI sent a file to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

At the time, Sinn Féin accused the PSNI of “political policing” and claimed the arrest was due to a “dark side” within the service, conspiring with enemies of the peace process.

The PSNI said they had a duty to “impartially investigate serious crime” and said they were committed to treating “everyone equally before the law”.

Transition

Recent years also saw different sides of Mr Adams, however.

He fully embraced the potential of social media and is well known as an enthusiastic user of Twitter.

He gained a reputation for quirky tweets, many focused on his teddy bear and rubber duck collection.

This frankness has also led him into controversy, however, such as in 2016 when Mr Adams apologised for using the ‘N-word’ in a tweet comparing the plight of slaves in the United States to that of Irish nationalists.

In the meantime, Mr Adams and Sinn Féin were beginning to make plans for his transition from leadership – and these plans would begin to become public just when Northern Ireland’s political process once again hit the rocks.

In January 2017, Martin McGuinness quit as Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister in protest at the handling of a botched energy scheme.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness are credited with forging Sinn Féin’s modern political strength

The move led to an ongoing political crisis that between Northern Ireland’s two largest parties, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin, that has yet to be resolved.

Soon after his resignation, Mr McGuinness confirmed that he was in ill health and would not be standing for re-election.

Sinn Féin’s deputy leader added that he and Mr Adams had devised a plan for the handing over of Sinn Féin’s leadership.

The first part of that plan became public later that month when Michelle O’Neill replaced Mr McGuinness as Sinn Féin’s leader in Northern Ireland.

New era

Martin McGuinness died two months later, a death that Mr Adams described in his final party conference speech as “a punch in the face“.

In September, Mr Adams dropped his biggest hint yet that he was set to step back from politics when he said he would outline the party’s “planned process of generational change” if re-elected leader at the party’s ard fhéis (party conference).

Now, Mr Adams has confirmed that, after more than three decades, he will no longer be at the forefront of Irish republicanism.

He will step down officially in 2018, when a new leader will be elected, but a long goodbye is not expected.

Sooner rather than later, a new era in Irish politics without Mr Adams will begin.

Scottish Labour to announce new leader

Richard Leonard and Anas SarwarImage copyright PA
Image caption The contest between Richard Leonard and Anas Sarwar has exposed deep divisions within the party

Scottish Labour is to announce its new party leader after a bitter battle to succeed Kezia Dugdale, who resigned from the role in August.

Party members have been choosing between centrist Anas Sarwar and his left-wing rival Richard Leonard.

The contest has been marred by personal attacks, accusations of plots and claims of underhand voting tactics.

The party’s interim leader, Alex Rowley, was suspended earlier this week over allegations about his conduct.

Voting in the leadership contest closed on Friday, with the winner due to be confirmed at an event in the Glasgow Science Centre at about 11:00.

Voters had to be either full members of the party, signed up as a registered supporter or a supporter of an attached trade union – which led to controversy as both candidates raced to register as many supporters as possible.


Who are the candidates?

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Leonard is the odds-on favourite to become the next leader after winning the support of trade unions, including Unite

Bookmakers have Richard Leonard as the clear favourite to become the party’s next leader after he secured the support of all the major trade unions, including Unite – which has run a concerted campaign to encourage as many of its members as possible to back him.

The Central Scotland MSP is widely respected within the Labour movement, but had a relatively-low public profile before being persuaded to stand for the leadership.

He has argued that people are “hungry for change”, but believes that can only be delivered through “socialism and democracy” rather than “nationalism or patriotism.”

And he has firmly ruled out any prospect of a future coalition with the SNP, saying “there will be no ground ceded to nationalism at the expense of progressive socialism under my leadership”.

The former GMB union official was born and raised in England, and had a private education – which some critics have claimed could prove problematic for him.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Sarwar was said to have signed up thousands of supporters in time for the leadership vote

The leadership campaign of Mr Leonard’s rival in the contest, Anas Sarwar, got off to a rough start after it emerged his family’s business did not pay all of its staff the living wage of £8.45 an hour.

The revelation left Mr Sarwar – whose minority shareholding in United Wholesale (Scotland) was said to be worth £4.8m – facing accusations that he was “one of the few” rather than “one of the many”.

The Glasgow MSP eventually relinquished all of his shares in order to “demonstrate his commitment to public service”.

Mr Sarwar has also been criticised by opponents for sending his children to a £10,000-per-pupil private school, and for previously signing a letter opposing Mr Corbyn‘s bid for re-election as Labour leader.

Despite the controversy, Mr Sarwar, who was once the party’s deputy leader, is said to enjoy the support of the majority of Scottish Labour parliamentarians.

He has said he wants to become first minister in order to deliver equality rather than simply talking about fighting for it, and warned the SNP that Labour was going to “park our tanks on Nicola Sturgeon’s lawn”.


What sparked the leadership contest?

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Kezia Dugdale had opposed Jeremy Corbyn‘s re-election as Labour leader

Ms Dugdale became the third Scottish Labour leader to quit since the independence referendum in September 2014 when she resigned suddenly on 29 August – almost exactly two years after succeeding Jim Murphy in the role.

At the time, Ms Dugdale said she wanted to “pass on the baton” to someone else, and denied suggestions that she had been forced out by supporters of Mr Corbyn, who she had openly criticised in the past.

But she later said it would be right to assume that “a lot of internal problems” were the reason she did not tell her deputy, Mr Rowley, that she was quitting until just a few minutes beforehand.


What challenges does the winner face?

Image copyright Scottish Labour
Image caption Mr Rowley has been suspended by the party while an investigation is carried out into the allegations against him

The final week of the leadership contest was overshadowed by Mr Rowley stepping down from his interim and deputy leader roles after the Scottish Sun published allegations that he had sent abusive text messages to a former partner.

Mr Rowley denies the claims, but has been suspended by the party while an investigation is carried out.

He had been absent from the Scottish Parliament for the previous two weeks, with party bosses citing a chest infection as the reason.

There have been claims that the party knew of the allegations against Mr Rowley for several weeks, but only suspended him once they appeared in the media.

War of words

The leadership contest itself suggests that Scottish Labour – which is now the third largest party at Holyrood behind the SNP and Conservatives – remains deeply divided.

A public war of words erupted between the rival camps in September after Mr Rowley was secretly recorded discussing the leadership election with a party member while queuing for a fringe event.

The row unfolded as Mr Corbyn was telling the UK party’s conference that Labour was “on the way back in Scotland” thanks to its “unifying socialist message”.

Meanwhile, supporters of both candidates have raised concerns over the sign-up process for those eligible to vote, with accusations of unfair tactics on both sides.

Whoever ultimately wins the contest looks to have a tough task on their hands to unite the rival factions and make the party a credible challenger to the SNP in time for the next Scottish Parliament election in 2021.

Even surviving in the job that long would be something of an achievement, given that the winner will become the party’s fourth leader in little over three years.

Has ‘Pin-up Postie’ met her Mr Right after date auction?

A BRADFORD postwoman hopes she has found her first-class man after he pledged £2,000 to win a date with her as part of a fundraising drive.

Kelly Williams, 41, who lives in Wilsden, wants to fund £60,000 stem cell treatment for her friend Sol, who lives in Argentina but was bitten by a tick during a holiday to the UK in 2012 and now suffers from chronic Lyme Disease.

Ms Williams is raising funds for the Spread a Little Sunshine charity.

Ms Williams, who is single, ran ‘Win a Date with a Pin-up Postie’, which raised a total of £5,500 for the cause. Other raffle prizes included a signed Bradford Bulls shirt from 2012 and a wine tasting evening. 

Keith Johnson, 46, of Queensbury, won a date with Ms Williams after he ran a social media campaign leading up to last night’s auction, held at The Potting Shed, Main Street, Bingley. where his friends stumped up some of the cash.
An online auction took place on the charity’s Facebook page before then, raising £999, when the final online bid became the starting bid for the event. 
The event also saw the launch of a fundraising calendar, called The Posties, priced £10, featuring Ms Williams and 11 other postwomen from West Bradford, Bingley and Shipley.
She said: “It was just a really fantastic night. 
“We have not decided on the date just yet. 
“He was there with his friend at the auction. He looked a bit nervous and was not sure how the auction would go. 
Mr Johnson, of Queensbury, who works as a surveyor, said: “I’m absolutely chuffed to win the date with Kelly. It shows I have a great support network. 
“I have followed Kelly’s fundraising story and she is an inspiration. 
“When I saw this opportunity I thought how can I win the date? 
“I ran the social media campaign for the last week. I did not think it would take off.
“She seems really busy and I haven’t got chance to speak to her very much.”
Ms Williams’ other fundraising feats have included completing 26 marathons in 26 days in Roberts Park, Saltaire, in July this year. She has raised £20,000 in total so far.
Go to the Spreadalittlesunshine Facebook page to make an online donation for the auction, or spreadalittlesunshine.org or Wilsden Post Office to buy the calendar.

The event raised a total of £5,500, taking Ms Wiliams’ overal total to £20,000.

Go to spreadalittlesunshine.org to donate, or to buy the calendar. 

Illustrator Chris Riddell accuses John Lewis over Christmas ad

John Lewis Christmas adImage copyright John Lewis/PA
Image caption The ad features a monster called Moz and a boy named Joe

John Lewis has been accused of copying a 1986 book by former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell in its latest Christmas advert.

Writing on social media, the illustrator accused the retail giant of “helping themselves” to his book Mr Underbed in its festive campaign.

Both feature a small boy who discovers a giant cuddly monster under his bed.

John Lewis responded by insisting “the main thrust” of its advert’s story was “utterly different to Chris Riddell’s”.

It said: “The story of a big hairy monster under the bed which keeps a child from sleeping is a universal tale which has been told many times over many years.

“Ours is a Christmas story of friendship and fun between Joe and Moz the Monster, in which Joe receives a night light which helps him get a good night’s sleep.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Riddell’s other books include the award-winning Goth Girl series

Riddell’s story features a small boy whose attempts to find another place for Mr Underbed to sleep lead to the discovery that he shares his bedroom with various other hidden creatures.

Writing on Tumblr on Thursday, Riddell said it was “very generous of John Lewis to devote their Christmas advertising campaign to my 1986 picture book… in this age of shrinking publicity budgets”.

He followed it up with a video on Twitter in which he compared some scenes from the retail giant’s commercial with illustrations from his published work.

His accusations attracted support from fellow author Frank Cottrell-Boyce, who likened John Lewis to “grinches [that] nick something from under the spreading tree of other people’s creativity”.

The John Lewis advert was created by advertising agency adam&eveDDB, is directed by Michel Gondry and features a cover version of The Beatles’ Golden Slumbers by Elbow.

Riddell was the ninth Children’s Laureate, holding the post between 2015 and 2017.

The 55-year-old is the author and illustrator of the award-winning Goth Girl novels, a three-time winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration and The Observer’s political cartoonist.

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