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Summary

  1. Slough MP, Fiona Mactaggart has announced she will not stand in June's snap election
  2. M&S stores in Wokingham and Slough have been earmarked for closure
  3. Datchet roadside rape: Man, 34, charged
  4. Fujitsu strike in Bracknell

Live Reporting

By Sarah Lee and Toby Wadey

All times stated are UK

That's all for today

Toby Wadey

BBC South

Thank you for joining us again today. 

We will be back tomorrow with all of Berkshire's latest news, travel, sport and weather. 

Stay in touch via our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Council consultations on hold due to election

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has announced a number of consultations it had planned in the coming weeks will be postponed because of the general election.

It said there are strict guidelines on what publicity can be undertaken leading up to the poll.  

View more on twitter

Leader of the council Simon Dudley said: “During this pre-election period, the limitations on what forms of publicity we can run would stop us from being able to properly reach out to people and be able to listen to what our residents have to say.

“We want residents to be engaged during public consultations, not distracted by the general election."

WATCH: Snakes on plains tracked to save species

A team of snake hunters are attaching tracking devices to adders to try to protect the future of what is Britain's only venomous snake.

The movements of more than 60 adders have been tracked on sites in Berkshire and other parts of the UK to learn how they go around their natural habitat.

The team says humans shouldn't get too close as snakes can become stressed, which impacts reproduction. Another reason, of course, is that adders can bite.

Have you ever met the Prime Minister?

So the election campaign is well underway! Seven weeks today the country goes to the polls - and the party leaders are already on the campaign trail.

Prime Minister Theresa May is of course one of our local MPs, having represented the constituency of Maidenhead since 1997.

BBC Radio Berkshire's Anne Diamond asked whether the Prime Minster had ever visited you.

Step forward Karen from, well... Maidenhead.

'Restaurant quarter' planned for shopping centre

A "restaurant quarter" is being planned as part of a major redevelopment of Newbury's Kennet Centre. 

The Newbury Weekly News reported today that "five or six restaurants" will be installed on the Cheap Street side of the shopping complex. 

Kennet Centre
Google

Phone company announces drop in profits

US telecommunications giant Verizon, which has its UK headquarters in Reading, has announced a sharp fall in profits. 

The mobile phone company reported a 20% drop in the first quarter of this year. 

It blamed falling numbers of customers in America.

Cars blaze 'visible from three miles away'

Berkshire fire crews spent two hours battling a blaze which engulfed 14 cars in the early hours of this morning. 

Firefighters from Slough and Langley were sent to a site in Iver at 01:41 following reports that the vehicles were "well alight". 

Fire in Iver
Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service

Watch manager Andy Gibbins said heavy black smoke was visible from three miles away. 

The cause is being investigated. 

Cartoon used to attract adoptive families

An adoption charity has made a cartoon-style film to help its search for a forever family for a five-year-old boy, who has been in foster care since he was a baby. 

The film, created by Reading-based adoption charity Parents And Children Together (PACT), is being shared online and features the story of a boy described as "lively and affectionate". 

Last year, 245 children were adopted in Berkshire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight - the vast majority of these being under five.

Odds slashed after bets in Reading

Weather latest: Cloudy afternoon ahead

After yesterday's unbroken sunshine, we have had a much gloomier start to the day. 

The muggy conditions are expected to continue this afternoon with temperatures reaching a mild feeling 13C. 

BBC weather
BBC

Fiona Mactaggart: Full statement

Dear Colleague,

In May 1997 I promised to tell the truth and stand up for Slough. For 20 years I have continued to do that, and I know that, with the help of many Labour colleagues and  local activists, I have made a difference. The town when I stood was a troubled place, rival gangs of Sikh and Muslim youth were trying to kill each other on our streets, we were in the top ten towns in the country for early male deaths from heart disease, we had failing schools, crumbling housing estates  and companies based in the town were planning to leave.  Residents complained to me that the only police officers they saw were driving past in fast cars and Slough was a by-word for crime.

Our town has grown since 1997, but then 2238 people claimed unemployment benefit, now it is 1,250.  Our crime levels fell and Slough became safer than Reading and Oxford.  Our health has improved faster than average and I suspect I am the only MP to be able to claim that she has helped to break ground on two new accident and emergency departments in the local hospital while she has been in office.  Slough is one of the ten top places  for GCSE results and the skill levels of our population have increased meaning that we are more productive than almost anywhere else outside London.  These are all issue which I have championed, from calling a skills summit to pressing for much needed funds for Wexham Park hospital and our local GPs. I agreed to back a new runway for Heathrow on condition that our rail line was electrified and that is now underway reducing pollution from diesel trains and offering the prospect of more frequent and faster services across London.  

Some big challenges remain: the western rail link to Heathrow is not yet built, the quality of our council housing stock has been massively improved but there is still too little housing that working people in the town can afford to live in.  I have encouraged the council to regenerate, helping to raise funds to create playgrounds in almost every neighbourhood, and have encouraged them to avoid the temptation to fix their financial problems by making newly built homes available only to people who can afford premium rents.

And through parliament I have helped to build a fairer society, making sure that the voices of women, including women of south Asian descent are heard in parliament.  I have stuck my neck out to persuade Labour and Conservative governments to back changes which were not immediately popular: granting full British citizenship to people who were British Overseas Citizens and had no other nationality, making big companies publish information about slavery in their supply chains are just two examples.

But people in Slough still face many problems.  For  some years now I have had to tell constituents living in miserable overpriced and overcrowded homes that they are unlikely to qualify for a secure tenancy that they can afford.  I have been frustrated by cruel immigration rules which prevent families from living together in this country where they are citizens while inefficient administration means that some people easily flout the rules. I am embarrassed to discuss with our headteachers how they will cut spending to fit the meagre budgets they face.  I have been depressed by the way the fantastic capacity in the voluntary sector is being run down by lack of funds or poor leadership.  I have been bored by political squabbles over personalities and I know I don’t still have the passion which has driven my politics for 20 years.

So I have decided to give someone else a chance to do the wonderful job which I have been privileged to hold for so long.  I know I’ll miss it, and I didn’t want this to happen so fast.  I foolishly believed the prime minister when she said again and again that she wouldn’t call an early election.  I cannot believe that spending 8 weeks of a time limited negotiation period campaigning in  an election rather than talking to our EU partners will strengthen her hand in negotiations with anyone outside her own conservative party. 

I wish my successor well and my warmest thanks to all of you who have helped me to achieve some of these goals

Yours ever

Rt Hon Fiona Mactaggart MP

BreakingLabour MP for Slough Fiona Mactaggart to stand down

Slough MP, Fiona Mactaggart has announced she will not stand in June's snap election.  

She had served as a Slough MP for 20 years - since 1997.

In a letter, she said: "I have decided to give someone else a chance to do the wonderful job which I have been privileged to hold for so long.  I know I’ll miss it, and I didn’t want this to happen so fast.  

"I foolishly believed the prime minister when she said again and again that she wouldn’t call an early election." 

M&S stores in Wokingham and Slough earmarked for closure

M&S stores in Wokingham and Slough have been earmarked for closure. 

The retailer has today announced that it is consulting with colleagues on the proposed closure of its store on Peach Street in Wokingham and Slough High Street store. 

If the proposals goes ahead all 55 colleagues at Wokingham and 60 colleagues at Slough would be guaranteed redeployment at nearby stores, M&S said.

The announcement is part of wider proposals to close six stores across the UK.

M and S
BBC

London Irish's Cokanasiga gets nod for England's tour to Argentina

Adam Williams

BBC Sport

Joe Cokanasiga
Getty Images

After the British and Irish Lions squad for the summer's tour to New Zealand was announced yesterday, London Irish winger Joe Cokanasiga has been included in the England squad to tour Argentina in June.

Cokanasiga, 19, has impressed for the England under-20 squad this season, which won the Six Nations Grand Slam, as well as Irish's march to the Championship play-offs.

Is this the one where Maidenhead are promoted?

Newbury Weekly News front page

Maidenhead advertiser front page

Datchet roadside rape: Man, 34, charged

A 34 year-old man has been charged in connection with a rape of an 18-year-old girl in Datchet.

Kapil Dogra, aged 34, of High Street, Addlestone, Surrey, has been charged with one count of rape, two counts of sexual assault and one count of causing a female to engage in sexual activity.

He was charged on Wednesday and has been remanded in custody. 

The charges are in connection with an incident in London Road, Datchet, at around 10.20pm Wednesday 12 April.

He will appear at Slough Magistrates’ Court later

Fujitsu strike in Bracknell

Staff at Japanese electronics firm Fujitsu strike today in the UK as part of a dispute over cuts to jobs and pensions.

The union Unite said the company, which announced 1,800 job cuts in October, was "keeping them in the dark over its plans for the future".

In this wave members have already staged strike action for 24 hours on 13 and 24 April and begin a further two days today. It follows four other days of action.

The firm has a range of businesses in the UK, employing 14,000 people.

Workers in Crewe, Edinburgh, London, Manchester, Stevenage, Wakefield, Warrington, Basingstoke, Belfast, Birmingham and Bracknell will be involved.

Fujitsu chairman Masami Yamamoto
BBC
Fujitsu chairman Masami Yamamoto previously warned the firm would reconsider its UK investments if the country left the European Union

Sport Headlines

Tim Dellor

BBC Berkshire sport editor

The former London Irish player Jonathan Joseph only made the Lions trip thanks to last minute selection insistence from Head Coach Warren Gatland.

Newbury jockey James Doyle is back from a season in Australia to ride in The Craven Stakes at Newmarket today. 

And there will be no shortage of motivation for Reading's players as they train today. A win at Nottingham Forest on Saturday and they're into the play offs.

Weather: Cloudy skies and spots of rain

Holly Green has Berkshire's forecast for 20 April

Good morning!

Good morning and welcome to BBC Berkshire Live on this Thursday.

We'll be bringing you all the latest news, travel and weather until 6pm.