Black Country news and blogs Saturday 15 November 2014
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PM ‘weak’ over Mitchell – Labour 

20 Oct 12

Labour accuses David Cameron of weak leadership for failing to dismiss Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell as government chief whip before he quit on Friday.

Mitchell resigns over police row 

19 Oct 12

The Sutton Coldfield MP and quits his role as Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell over rude remarks he made to police officers in Downing Street three weeks ago.

Andrew Mitchell 

26 Sep 12

Last Friday afternoon this humble blog published a hastily cobbled together post that requires an unreserved apology. It had been a long and extremely frustrating day but that is no excuse for poor grammar and shoddy sentence construction. This blog did not use the words that have been attributed to it…

On yer bike 

21 Sep 12

Before we all get carried away and grab the pitchforks and flaming torches and lay seize to Sutton Coldfield, let us consider which “news” outlet ran the story of Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell`s rather predictable behaviour…

Vote rigging: blame the Martians 

The Mushroom 3 Dec 10

So it’s the fault of the 'others'

That’s the verdict of Mike Bird on electoral fraud by Conservative Party members in Walsall. Mike’s amazing conclusion was aired on the BBC WM’s Drivetime programme on Thursday…

Russian guitars 

Nige Come the Revolution 3 Dec 10

So Qatar – will be fun to watch football played at walking pace in 40 degrees, no football stadiums, no hotels, no roads, no alcohol – the perfect place!

Calls for inquiry on vote rigging at Walsall Council 

3 Dec 10

Calls were today made for an investigation into vote rigging at Walsall Council after a Tory party member and son of a councillor was locked up for electoral fraud…

Vote rigging: will Cameron act? 

The Mushroom 1 Dec 10

The conviction of Ali Munir, businessman and Tory Party member, for electoral fraud is very worrying. He is the son of Palfrey councillor Mohammed Munir, who was cleared of similar charges in September after telling the court that he had unknowingly filled in forms for 11 illegal immigrants to register them as voters. He was found not guilty and Cllr Munir is innocent…

Son of Walsall councillor jailed for forging votes 

1 Dec 10

The son of a Tory councillor who forged proxy votes in a bid to help his father in an election has been jailed for three months…

Turn, turn, turn… 

10 Nov 10

Something odd is happening at the moment. I’m not sure quite what’s going on, but it’s very interesting and I think it might be positive. It seems the Cabinet – those leading Walsall Council – have become aware of the adverse publicity they seem to be creating out here in cyberspace…

Walsall councillors’ allowances frozen – with a twist 

9 Nov 10

Last night’s full meeting of Walsall Council saw the controlling Tory administration doing an about turn on the proposals to increase councillors’ allowances…

All hits radio 

7 Nov 10

What better way to enjoy Saturday morning brunch than to gather around the radio-gramme to benefit from the wise words of our avuncular council leader Mike Bird…

Bird eats crow 

The Mushroom 6 Nov 10

Listened to Radio WM this morning and had the pleasure of hearing Mike Bird eat crow over the pay rise to cabinet members he was so enthusiastically supporting last week…

Mike Bird bows to pressure 

Pheasey Park Farm Labour 6 Nov 10

On Adrian Goldberg’s BBC Radio WM show, Walsall Council leader Mike Bird confirmed that on Friday night the Tory group bowed to the obvious public pressure and delayed any decision on pay rises until next year…

But I’m worth it!!! 

The Mushroom 5 Nov 10

Mike Bird is to defend his proposed pay rise on Radio WM tomorrow morning (10am on Saturday I believe), a feat of back flips propelled by blasts of hot air…

I’m a lumberjack and I’m ok… 

The Bookworm Turns 4 Nov 10

This week it was revealed by the local press that the legendary Mike Bird of Walsall Council and his ‘Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’ would be voting themselves a fat pay rise for all the hardships they endure in their hard-pressed non-stop 24/7 jobs serving the public of Walsall…

Mike Bird and the hypocrisy of ‘all in it together’ 

Ian Robathan Labour News 2 Nov 10

In Walsall we are quite used to Mike Bird after many years of seeing him in and out of charge of the Tory party here. I am ‘lucky’ enough to have him as my local councillor after some Tory gerrymandering a few year back and wouldn’t it be good to see him suffering from cuts as we all do (though he lives nowhere near our estate)…

If you’re not outraged, then you’re not paying attention 

3 Nov 10

If you’re not aware of the story, it has recently been reported that despite making huge cuts to services provision, budgets and soon jobs too, Mike Bird and his pals at Walsall Council see nothing wrong with voting to increase their allowances…

Qu’ils mangent de la brioche 

2 Nov 10

There is absolutely no evidence that Marie Antoinette, at the height of the bread riots during the French Revolution, ever suggested that baguette-less citizens should eat brioche let alone cake. Reports of her mocking cruelty were pure invention unlike in Walsall where there are sticky fingers kneading the dough…

Fury over Walsall councillors’ pay rise plan 

1 Nov 10

Senior councillors at Walsall Council, which must save £65 million, will give themselves pay rises under controversial new plans revealed today…

New Essington home for MP scandal duckhouse 

17 Sep 10

The most infamous floating duckhouse in the country is now safe and sound in its new home alongside the M6…

£10m payouts for former MPs

8 Jun 10

Former MPs who retired or lost their seats at the General Election were revealed to be sharing more than £10m in golden goodbyes..

Cameron probe call into Walsall “fraud” claims 

The Stirrer 27 May 10

Walsall Council’s Labour Group is demanding Prime Minster David Cameron launches an investigation into the running of the local Conservative Party after a second Walsall Tory has been arrested in connection with electoral fraud…

Tory candidate held in police probe on Pleck election fraud 

26 May 10

A Tory election candidate has been arrested on suspicion of postal vote fraud in the first West Midlands Police operation of its kind linked to the 2010 polls…

Tory councillor suspended over Walsall electoral fraud claims

31 Mar 10

A Walsall Conservative councillor has been suspended from his party following allegations of electoral fraud…

Mandelson close to taking legal action against Phoenix Four 

Alun Thorne 26 Feb 10

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson is on the verge of taking legal action against the ‘Phoenix Four’, who oversaw the collapse of MG Rover. But the legal action means a parliamentary investigation into the collapse has been called off. The Business Innovation and Skills select committee will now be looking into Lord Mandelson’s handling of the […]

WM MPs told to pay back over £50,000 after expenses scandal 

Jonathan Walker 4 Feb 10

MPs across the West Mids have been ordered to repay almost £50,000 in illegitimate expense claims. Richard Shepherd (Con Aldridge Brownhills) has repaid a total of £3,191.88 whilst Walsall’s other two MPs, Bruce George (Lab Walsall South) and David Winnick (Lab Walsall North) have been told their expenses claims were valid and have to return […]

Tribunal legal costs questioned

Adam Lumley 9 Jan 10

Councillor Anne Young, who represents Blakenall for Labour, has tabled a question for next Monday`s meeting of the full council demanding to know the cost to council tax payers of the latest unfair dismissal tribunal to hit Walsall Council. Former highways manager Carl Teesdale, aged 52 and of Birmingham Road resigned from the authority after […]

Automotive news
Phoenix Four face payout delay 

Jon Griffin 5 Jan 10

A last-minute government claim has delayed the Phoenix Four a multi-million pound windfall from MG Rover. The distribution of yet more millions to John Towers, Peter Beale, Nick Stephenson and John Edwards looks set to be delayed for several more months after a last-minute notice of a potential claim – believed to be from a […]

Business news
All aboard the gravy train 

30 Dec 09

A quango set up to bring investment into the West Midlands has spent £75,000 of taxpayers’ money letting its staff fly business class, it was revealed today. Advantage West Midlands also spent £31,000 on first class rail travel but claimed today the costs were justified so that staff can “arrive fresh” for meetings…

Bishop of Lichfield talks of trust ‘betrayals’ 

26 Dec 09

High-profile breaches of trust could lead people to turn to the Church, the Bishop of Lichfield has said. The Right Reverend Jonathan Gledhill said there had been so many “shocking betrayals of trust” this year, which included the MPs’ expenses scandal…

Automotive news
Former Rover bosses pay back £3m 

26 Nov 09

The company owned by the ex-bosses of MG Rover has paid back some of the millions of pounds taken out of the car maker, the BBC has learned. Phoenix Venture Holdings, the firm owned by the so-called “Phoenix Four”, paid £3m to the liquidator almost five years after the firm’s collapse…

Phoenix four “should hand back £11m windfall” says MP 

Stirrer 23 Nov 09

The directors who took MG Rover into liquidation have been urged to plough an £11million windfall from the collapse of the company into the local community. Northfield MP Richard Burden says it would help restore their tarnished reputation…

Automotive news
MP calls for Phoenix Four to reveal Rover trust fund details 

Jonathan Walker 3 Nov 09

Former MG Rover directors must reveal how much cash will be distributed through a long-awaited trust fund for staff who were made redundant, the House of Commons will be told today…

Court worry for MPs forced to sack family members 

26 Oct 09

MPS could face legal action from their own wives and husbands if they are forced to sack them under new anti-sleaze rules, according to a West Midlands MP. A review published next month is expected to order up to 20 MPs in the region to stop employing family members as secretaries and researchers…

Sandwell Council leader resigns after theft charge 

23 Oct 09

The leader of Sandwell Council, Bill Thomas OBE, resigned today after being arrested and charged with theft. The 69-year-old was arrested following an investigation by a police economic crime team. Councillor Thomas, a former headteacher, represents Rowley ward on the council which he has led since 2001…

MPs stay silent on expenses’ letters 

14 Oct 09

Seven MPs from across the West Midlands were today failing to reveal the contents of letters sent out telling them if they have to pay back any expenses….

Business news
BAE Systems face SFO prosecution in bribery of ‘millions’ 

Graeme Brown 2 Oct 09

Defence giant BAE Systems is to face prosecution over bribery allegations following a long investigation. The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) confirmed it is to pursue claims that the firm paid out millions of pounds to win contracts from a number of countries…

Winnick welcomes Speaker call for shorter MPs’ summer break 

26 Sep 09

West Midlands MPs have defended their lengthy summer holidays after House of Commons Speaker John Bercow called for the recess to be cut back but Walsall North Labour MP David Winnick welcomed Mr Bercow’s remarks…

Automotive news
Professor David Bailey’s reaction to MG Rover collapse report 

Anna Blackaby 14 Sep 09

Car industry expert Professor David Bailey, of Coventry University Business School, expressed hope that the inquiry may lead to greater accountability and transparency in the business world.

Automotive news
MG Rover inspectors open door to legal action against the Phoenix Four 

Ian Griffiths & Tim Webb Observer 13 Sep 09

West Midlands car industry activists are poring over the fine detail of the government report into the collapse of MG Rover to establish whether there are grounds to bring a civil action against the so-called Phoenix Four, the executives who bought the car company from BMW for £10 in May 2000…

Automotive news
MG Rover director paid his lover £1.7m for consultancy work 

Jon Griffin 12 Sep 09

Firms linked to Phoenix Four director Nick Stephenson’s Chinese lover Qu Li received nearly £1.7 million over a 15-month period for consultancy work, the report reveals…

Rover over 

11 Sep 09

Is it just me, or is the fuss and the 16million quid report into MG Rover going under a total waste of time?

Heated exchange at Walsall MDC meeting 

Zim Diaspora 25 August 09

There was heated debate at a district meeting of the Movement for Democratic Change (UK) in Walsall on Saturday where financial irregularities in the party were discussed…

Media business
Screen WM CEO claimed Ivy membership on expenses 

31 July 09

Membership of The Ivy and over £5,000 in dining out costs were among the expenses claimed by the chief executive of the region’s screen media quango last year. Suzie Norton, chief executive of Screen WM, which exists to support the film TV, games and interactive media sector in the area, claimed £12,500 in expenses in […]

Labour crushed by Tories 

24 July 09

Norwich North by-electionLabour have suffered a crushing defeat in the Norwich North by-election to the Conservatives – defeated by a majority of more than 7,000 votes. The Conservatives’s candidate Chloe Smith overturned the 5,459 majority won in 2005 by Ian Gibson, the Labour MP who quit the Commons after being controversially banned from standing again […]

‘Rushed’ expenses law enters the statute books 

22 July 09

A law intended to clean up Parliament after the MPs’ expenses scandal has been passed, amid complaints that it was rushed through with the most crucial measures watered down…

Financial news
Nationwide bosses face fury over pay 

Mail on Sunday 19 July 09

Bosses at Nationwide Building Society were grilled by members over their six-figure bonuses at a marathon annual meeting last Thursday. Saver Stewart Prebble from Walsall won applause for his comments…

When will the penny drop over all these pounds claimed by MPs? 

13 July 09

Over the recent months, the expenses scandal has meant politicians streaking ahead in the race to become the most despised profession. But for some, the public reaction to moats, duck houses and nudie films has yet to sink in. So when new foreign office minister Chris Bryant got in touch with Birmingham University academic Andrew […]

Peter Francis replies to Mike Bird 

7 July 09

Walsall Council whistleblower Peter Francis has responded to the implication that he was personally responsible for the EU cash crisis made by Walsall Council leader Mike Bird at Monday night’s council meeting, saying that he was only in post for part of the time and had raised concerns about the management of the EU funds […]

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