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Summary

  1. Updates for Monday 23 March 2015
  2. News, sport, travel and weather updates return at 08:00 Tuesday

Live Reporting

By Alex Homer

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good evening

Local Live has finished for the day. Join us for the usual mix of news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Tuesday.

Tonight's forecast

Rebecca Wood

BBC Weather

Cloud and rain will gradually ease away southeastwards overnight.

It will then turn cold, with mostly clear skies bringing a risk of frost. However isolated showers are possible by dawn.

map
BBC

Lows of 4C (39F)

Coming up on TV

Nick Owen

Presenter, Midlands Today

Amy Cole reports for us on the resignation of the Conservative candidate for Dudley North, Afzal Amin.

A government-appointed body has today approved Birmingham City Council's improvement plan. The local authority was warned that it had to change radically to deliver the services the city's residents deserve.

More on these stories and others on

Midlands Today at 18:30 on BBC One.

Register to vote reminder

A giant ad-van is touring Sandwell this week reminding people they have less than four weeks to register to vote.

The deadline to get registered to vote in the general and local elections is April 20. To register to vote,

visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

The ad van
Sandwell Council

Anyone who wants a postal vote must apply for one by 5pm on April 21.

Email the council's electoral services team for more information or call 0121 569 3244.

Do we need video referees?

BBC Sport

Should the way football games are refereed change?

It follows

the case of mistaken identity in Saturday's Manchester City v West Brom match where the wrong player was sent off.

JASON ROBERTS
BBC

Former West Brom striker Jason Roberts told Match of the Day 3: "Either we accept referees are human and they're going to make mistakes, or we bring in video technology for everything, and if we do that, we're going to have a stop-start game."

Watch the debate here.

Wrong-way driver was in collision

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Police are

appealing for witnesses after confirming a car that was driving the wrong way on the Aston Expressway was in collision with two other vehicles earlier this afternoon.

Officers were called to the scene just after 12:30 today.

A 43-year-old driver was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries. The drivers of the other two cars were treated for minor injuries.

The Expressway re-opened shortly before 15:30, but

there are still big delays.

Black Sabbath farewell concert announced: Is this the end for the Brummie rock heroes?

Birmingham Mail

Brummie heavy metal legends

Black Sabbath are to play their farewell show at Ozzfest in Japan, according to Sharon Osbourne.

The wife of Aston-born lead singer Ozzy announced the shock news on a promo video for the tour.

Aston expressway crash: Hours of standstill traffic

BBC Travel

There is still heavy traffic on A38(M) Aston Expressway outbound in Birmingham between A38, Dartmouth Circus and M6 J6, Spaghetti Junction, because of an accident earlier on.

The air ambulance above queuing traffic
@CllrYardley

Earlier, Tettenhall Regis Councillor Jonathan Yardley was caught in traffic for about two hours before police directed him to turn his car around.

All lanes have been re-opened.

Stay up to date with the latest on

the BBC Travel page.

News on the hour

Rob Mayor

Journalist, BBC WM

The suspended Conservative parliamentary candidate for Dudley North has resigned, after claims he tried persuade the English Defence League to announce a protest against a mosque which he would then take credit for stopping it.

More in the news at 17:00

Listen live to

BBC WM.

Your views on 'referee reviews'

Email locallive@bbc.co.uk

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

West Brom boss Tony Pulis

says managers should be able to appeal against decisions after a weekend of controversy surrounding match officials.

Pulis's complaint came after referee Neil Swarbrick sent off the wrong player during

West Brom's 3-0 defeat at Manchester City, for which Swarbrick has apologised.

A coach signals his intention to challenge a decision using a red flag
Chris Graythen

Should managers be able to challenge the referee - as American football coaches do (above) by using a red flag maybe?

Or is human error part of football's tradition and romance?

Email us your thoughts.

Amin: 'Thanked for his work'

Sunday Politics

"Afzal Amin is resigning as Conservative candidate for Dudley North with immediate effect." said a Conservative Party spokesman.

"Conservative Chairman Grant Shapps has welcomed Mr Amin's decision and thanked him for his work in the past."

The party will now select a new candidate to fight the constituency.

Analysis - Amin's resignation

Norman Smith

BBC Assistant Political Editor

"Bluntly, I suspect he (Afzal Amin) has seen the writing was on the wall.

"They are left with a complete nightmare having to conjure up a new candidate.

Norman Smith on the BBC News Channel
Alex Homer

"It's an absolute disaster for the Conservative party. It's their sixth target seat.

"It's very hard to see how they can bring this out of the fire."

BreakingAmin resigns

BREAKING NEWS

Suspended Conservative candidate Afzal Amin has resigned as prospective parliamentary candidate for Dudley North with immediate effect, a party source said.

News on the hour

Rob Mayor

Journalist, BBC WM

At 16:00 we will hear more from Councillor Jonathan Yardley, eye witness to the crash that closed the Aston Expressway this afternoon.

Listen live

here.

Aston expressway reopens

West Midlands Fire Service

tweets: "The Aston Expressway is now fully open in both directions following a serious collision earlier today."

Three hospitalised after crash

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Three people have been taken to hospital after a three-car smash on the Aston Expressway, according to West Midlands Ambulance Service.

Aston expressway crash: Latest

BBC Travel

Significant delays remain on the Aston Expressway in Birmingham which has been closed because of a serious multi-vehicle accident.

Traffic is stationary in both directions between A38, Dartmouth Circus and M6 J6, Spaghetti Junction.

Congestion is back up to A38 Paradise Circus Queensway and the A38 Queensway Tunnel junction.

Stay up to date on the

BBC Travel page.

Aston expressway crash: 'Three cars involved'

Tettenhall Regis Councillor Jonathan Yardley says the crash happened five cars in front of him on the Aston Expressway.

He says there were around three cars "smashed to smithereens" afterwards and other cars skewed at "weird angles".

The crash scene
@CllrYardley

A lorry driver in front of him jumped out of his cab with a fire extinguisher and tackled flames which had sprung up from one of the cars involved.

He says firefighters at the scene told him a driver travelling in the wrong direction had led to the collision.

News on the hour

Rob Mayor

Journalist, BBC WM

Drivers are being told to avoid the Aston Expressway this afternoon after a serious multi vehicle accident.

Listen live to the news at 15:00 for the latest details.

Blues ladies draw City

BBC Sport

Birmingham City have drawn Manchester City away in the FA Women's Cup quarter-finals after they

got past reigning WSL 1 champions Liverpool 3-1.

Jade Moore
The FA

Jade Moore (pictured) grabbed the opener in the win.

Severe delays on A38M

BBC Travel

BBC Travel

The crash on the Aston Expressway means there are queues on the A38 Paradise Circus Queensway, back to the A38 Queensway Tunnel junction,

drivers are warned.

TRAVEL
BBC

Via Twitter

Mark Hayes, an emergency biker with West Midlands Ambulance Service,

tweets: "Currently on scene serious RTC A38M. Expressway likely to remain closed for sometime."

Aston expressway crash: Traffic being released

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Police are releasing trapped traffic from the front of the crash scene on the A38M Aston Expressway,

says the Highways Agency.

The road is closed in both directions between the M6 J6 and the A4540 due to a serious incident.

The link roads from the M6 J6 northbound and southbound to the A38M are also closed.

Avoid Expressway warning

BBC Travel

Drivers approaching on the M6 northbound wishing to travel to Birmingham

are advised to exit at J5 because of the crash.

Traffic approaching on the M6 southbound wishing to travel to Birmingham is meanwhile advised to exit at J7.

News on the hour

Chris Blakemore

News editor, BBC WM

The air ambulance has had to land on the Aston Expressway after a multi-vehicle crash there.

It happened at about 12:30 and people are being told to avoid the Expressway which is closed in both directions.

Listen live to

BBC WM for more stories.

BreakingBreaking News

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

A multi-vehicle crash has closed the Aston Expressway in both directions, according to Birmingham City Council.

The crash happened at about 12:30 on the northbound carriageway just before the M6 slip road and an air ambulance has been sent to the scene.

We will have more on this as soon as we get it.

Amin fights for his political career

Shaun Ley

Presenter, BBC Radio 4

A few weeks ago, one Conservative MP who knows Afzal Amin well and respects his talents said Amin had warned him of the risks of overconfidence. He thought he risked running before he could walk.

Well, he stumbled badly this weekend. Whatever the purpose of his contacts with the English Defence League - and he strongly disputes claims that he wanted them to hold a protest that would then be called off, for which he could then take the credit - the exposure has damaged him and, potentially, the prospects of his party re-taking the seat.

Read more about

the day I met Amin.

Blues fare badly on travels

BBC Sport

Cardiff City claimed a first home win since January as two second-half goals

saw off a poor Birmingham side.

Eoin Doyle celebrates scoring for Cardiff City
Huw Evans picture agency

News on the hour

Michelle Dawes

Newsreader, BBC WM

Labour says claims a Conservative election candidate in Dudley plotted with the far-right English Defence League to stir up racial hatred are "shocking".

You can hear the latest on this story in my

13:00 bulletin.

Watford fan attack: Two more arrests

Alex Homer

BBC Local Live

Two more people have been arrested on suspicion of wounding over

an attack that left a Watford football fan critically ill after a match in Wolverhampton.

Nic Cruwys, 44, suffered head injuries in the attack on 7 March and is now described as being in a critical but stable condition.

Nick Cruwys
West Midlands Police

A 17-year-old boy was arrested on 19 March at an address in Gailey, Staffordshire, and an 18-year old man held on 20 March at an address in Ashmore Park, Wolverhampton. Both were later released on bail while detectives continue their inquiries.

Convicts bid for teachers' posts

Birmingham Mail

Paedophiles and child abusers were among hundreds of convicted criminals hoping to secure a job at Birmingham schools, shocking data has revealed.

One man applying for a teaching post in the city had 59 convictions - including common assault on a child - information

exclusively obtained by the Birmingham Mail can reveal.

Why Afzal Amin is fighting for his political life in Dudley

Shaun Ley

Presenter, BBC Radio 4

Afzal Amin (pictured right with me) may believe that he can persuade the party to lift the suspension when he meets party officials on Tuesday. I have my doubts.

Afzal Amin with the BBC's Shaun Ley
BBC

Even if they accept his defence, will the other parties be so charitable? The allegations would follow him on the campaign trail, and make planned visits by cabinet ministers next to impossible.

On Friday, just before the hustings in Dudley began, Afzal Amin gave me his business card. It introduces him as 'prospective member of Parliament Dudley North'. I think I'll keep it; it could yet become a collector's item.

Read more of my blog from Dudley here.

Is this the weakest Premier League ever?

BBC Sport

Ex West-Brom striker Jason Roberts joined Alan Shearer on Match of the Day 3 to discuss the state of the Premier League, and the mounting claims that this year is the worst ever top-flight division.

MOTD3
BBC

Watch the debate here:

News on the hour

Michelle Dawes

Journalist, BBC WM

The Conservative parliamentary candidate for Dudley North, who's been suspended after claims he plotted with the EDL, is due to appear at a hearing tomorrow.

We will hear from UKIP's Bill Etheridge, who is due to stand against Afzal Amin, in

our 12:00 bulletin.

Beth Rigby, FT's deputy political editor

@BethRigby

tweets: Dudley North now straight Labour/Ukip fight - & collapse of Tory vote will put Ukip in pole position (Ukip 34% Lab 37% in dec poll) #GE2015

Milk-chase van suspect: How dairy!

A man's been arrested following an early hours pursuit across Birmingham this morning when he tried to out-run traffic officers in a milk float,

according to police.

They were called at 03:35 to reports the van was being stolen from outside an address in Hill Street near Birmingham's New Street station.

The milk van on a BBC News background
West Midlands Police

Bottles of milk and loaves of bread spilled out along Small Heath Highway during the pursuit before its wheels were punctured by a police "stinger".

Police chief denies knowledge of 'plot'

Suspended Conservative Dudley North candidate Afzal Amin (pictured) claims in

his statement on
allegations he plotted with the English Defence League, that he "made sure he involved Chief Supt Chris Johnson from the start and he made clear, which is evident in the recordings [of the meetings], that he refused to do anything illegal".

AFZAL AMIN
BBC

Chief Supt Johnson, responsible for policing across Dudley borough, said: "I have formally met with prospective Parliamentary candidate Afzal Amin twice and have been at a number of local public events and meetings at which he was also present.

"At no point have we ever discussed an EDL demonstration on the dates in question and I have no knowledge of his alleged plans."

Thieves ransacked closed restaurant

Express and Star

Thieves

ran up a £100,000 bill "cannibalising" a restaurant after it had been forced to close, a judge heard.

The Terrace Restaurant in Brownhills had been closed for eight months when a van was spotted at the rear of the premises, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

BBC news is changing

Dave Lee

Technology reporter, BBC News

The desktop version of the BBC News website will be switched off at around 14:00 this afternoon and all visitors will be directed to

a newer, responsive design.

Responsive design examples
BBC

The new site adapts to different types of devices and changes to reflect whether it's being used on a desktop PC, tablet or mobile.

Read

more about the changes here.

News on the hour

Michelle Dawes

Journalist, BBC WM

Schools in Walsall are four times more likely to be rated "inadequate" than the national average - according to the latest figures released by Ofsted.

Hear more on this in

our 11:00 news.