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  1. Stoke Labour MP calls for Corbyn to 'resign immediately'
  2. Judge demands review into abortion clinic death case
  3. Plans to reopen Stafford school delayed again
  4. Updates on Thursday 30 June 2016

Live Reporting

By Allen Cook

All times stated are UK

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Thousands of statues to be planted in Somme commemoration

Thousands of wooden statues are going to be planted in Somme commemoration.
Thousands of wooden statues will be planted at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. One of them was planted today by Lewis Holmes, the great-grandson of George Edwards who fought on the front line.

Football: Port Vale make Pereira their third signing of week

Lee Blakeman

Port Vale commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Port Vale have announced their third signing this week with French midfielder Quentin Pereira joining on a two-year deal.

Quentin Pereira with Port Vale scarf
Port Vale FC

Pereira, 24, has an option to stay beyond the initial two seasons if he proves a success at Vale Park.

The midfielder joins from Stade De Reims and follows Rigino Cicilia and Kjell Knops to Vale Park as new manager Bruno Ribeiro adds to his squad.

Battle of the Somme: Eddie Redmayne joins Lichfield project

Rebecca Bradshaw

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

The Battle of the Somme is going to be commemorated this summer at Lichfield Cathedral with a project involving poetry read by the Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne. 

Eddie Redmayne outside the cathedral
Lichfield Cathedral

The exhibition is due to be held between 4-6 August and the cathedral says the star of The Theory of Everything and Les Miserables visited them this week to record a "selection of well-known war poetry".

'Significant amount' of cocaine seized by police

Jack Dowling

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

A "significant amount" of cocaine has been seized by police after they pulled a car over in Burntwood, Staffordshire. 

Water Street, Burntwood

Staffordshire Police say they arrested three men who were in the black Ford Focus yesterday on Water Street on suspicion of possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply. 

The force wouldn't put a figure on the amount seized but said it was "around 60 rocks" of cocaine.

This time last year: The weather

BBC Weather

Need cheering up? Perhaps don't look here. A year ago today, temperatures were rather hotter at 36C.

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In photos: Statues planted for Somme anniversary and Stoke-on-Trent war memorial

Allen Cook

BBC Local Live

People across Staffordshire and Cheshire have marked the day 100 years ago when the soldiers marched forward on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

BBC Radio Stoke's Emma Thomas has been at the National Memorial Arboretum where the first painted soldier statues have been planted for each soldier killed on 1 July 1916.

Painted soldier statues at National Memorial Arboretum

While in Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent, BBC Radio Stoke's Perry Spiller took this poignant picture today at the town's war memorial.

Fenton war memorial today
Perry Spiller

The weather for the West Midlands

The weather for the West Midlands.

Football: Crewe boss 'not satisfied' with young players performance

Graham McGarry

Crewe Alexandra commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Crewe Alexandra's manager Steve Davis has admitted he's not been satisfied with the progress of the young players in his squad.

Welcome to Crewe Alexandra sign
Getty Images

All but two of the Alex's current playing staff are 25 or under and five of them will only be 19 when the season starts. 

Davis told BBC Radio Stoke it's time for them to prove they can take the club back to League One.

They're young lads, young-ish players but have experience and I'm looking for them to push on. A lot of them have stood still, haven't shown enough in League One."

Steve DavisCrewe Alexandra's manager

End of an era as leisure centre demolished

BBC Hereford and Worcester

It's the end of an era this week - as a 30-year-old leisure centre in Kidderminster is demolished. 

The Wyre Forest Glades Leisure Centre - which was opened by Princess Diana - is to be relocated on the Kidderminster to Stourport Road in the town next week.

Wyre Forest Glades Leisure Centre

Football: Stoke's Butland back in training after ankle break

Matt Sandoz

Stoke City commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Goalkeeper Jack Butland is back in training with Stoke City, the club say.

He's recovering after fracturing his ankle during an England match in March which ruled him out of Euro 2016

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Pottery firm sale: No exact figure on number of jobs saved

Sarah Robertson

Producer, BBC Radio Stoke

More now on the news that an historic pottery firm in Stoke-on-Trent has been bought out of administration.

Hudson and Middleton has been acquired by BID Group, which helps turn around struggling businesses.

Hudson and Middleton exterior

Its spokesman Lee Smith hasn't guaranteed all 45 employees will get their jobs back, saying they'll be employing "at least 25 people" but said he couldn't give an exact figure.

He also said they'd been in contact with a large firm in China about a partnership - but added that didn't mean they'd move production to China.

Definitely not, that's not what we are about. We are passionate about UK-made products."

Lee SmithManaging Director of BID Group

Battle of the Somme: Families remember loved ones who fought

Lauren Turner

BBC News

A man from Stoke-on-Trent has travelled to France to mark the anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme.

Callan Chevin with picture of his great-grandfather
Callan Chevin

Callan Chevin, 24, is there to honour his great-grandfather John Chevin and his great-great-grandfather's cousin Alfred Saunders.

"It's important for me to remember the men in my family who fought so bravely," he said. 

Battle of the Somme diary published

BBC Midlands Today

A war diary detailing the first day of the Battle of the Somme is being published for the first time today. 

The account, written by Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Meynell, seen here with his son, was discovered by Staffordshire County Council's archives service. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Meynell and his son

Last night a special candlelit vigil was held at the National Memorial Aroborteum in memory of the thousands of troops who lost their lives when the battle started a 100 years ago today.   

Cheshire MP backs Theresa May's leadership bid

Phil McCann

Cheshire Political Reporter, BBC News

The Cheshire Conservative MP Antoinette Sandbach has announced her support for Theresa May as the home secretary bids to become Tory leader.  

Antoinette Sandbach

The Eddisbury MP told BBC Radio Stoke the next Conservative leader will have a big affect on people's lives in her constituency. 

The decision to leave the EU is one of the most momentous decisions that's been taken for many, many years. It's going to impact on all my constituents and I think it's really important to have somebody who will unite both sides of the party."

Antoinette SandbachConservative MP for Eddisbury

Apology for Stoke North MP who walked out of anti-Semitism event

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Shami Chakrabarti, the former director of Liberty, says she has been to see the Stoke North Labour MP who walked out of an anti-Semitism event after being accused of "colluding" with the media.  

Ruth Smeeth had called for Jeremy Corbyn to "resign immediately" for what she saw as his failure to intervene when "anti-Semitic slurs" were directed towards her in front of him.  

Ruth Smeeth

Ms Chakrabarti, who authored a report into alleged anti-Semitism within the Labour party,  defended Mr Corbyn for not intervening.

She said "I probably didn't give him the chance," but adds that the Labour leader had concurred with her when she admonished the male heckler.

I've been to see Ruth Smeeth and I've apologised to her because it was my press conference and I was chairing it and I'm really sorry she was treated in that way."

Shami ChakrabartiFormer director of Liberty

Battle of the Somme remembered at National Memorial Arboretum

The Battle of the Somme remembered at National Memorial Arboretum.
Children have taken part in a service at the National Memorial Arboretum to remember the soldiers who died in the Battle of the Somme. A two-minute silence took place as people commemorated the start of the battle 100 years ago in World War One.

Battle of the Somme centenary: Tweets from newly discovered war diary

Emma Thomas

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

A war diary detailing the first day of the Battle of the Somme is being published for the first time today in Staffordshire. 

The account was written by Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Meynell and was discovered by Staffordshire County Council's archives service

They are tweeting excerpts from the diary on their Twitter page throughout the day.

View more on twitter

Football: Port Vale sign Roda JC striker on two-year deal

Matt Newsum

BBC Sport

Port Vale have signed striker Rigino Cicilia from Dutch side Roda JC on a two-year deal.

Cicilia, 21, has an option to stay beyond the initial two seasons if he proves a success at Vale Park.

Rigino Cicilia
Port Vale FC

The Curacao-born player played two games for his parent club last season, and spent time on loan at RKC Waalwjik.

He made 24 appearances for Roda in total in league and cup, having played for youth sides at KVC Oranje, FC Kerkrade-West and Alemannia Aachen.

BreakingStoke-on-Trent pottery firm bought and taken out of administration

Lucy King

News Editor, BBC Radio Stoke

A Stoke-on-Trent pottery firm which had gone into administration has been bought by an investment group. 

The BID Group has taken over the Longton-based Hudsons of England who make fine bone china products. 

Hudsons of England

Earlier this month the firm went into administration after blaming a lack of orders, with 45 staff being made redundant - they'll now be re-employed the BID Group say.

Their managing director, Lee Smith, said Hudsons would fit "perfectly" into their portfolio and "be a benefit for the UK economy".

Somme candlelit vigil held in Staffordshire

Candlelit vigil held at National Memorial Arboretum to mark Somme centenary.
A candlelit vigil was held last night at the National Memorial Arboretum in memory of the thousands killed in the Battle of the Somme. People gathered at the Alrewas site to remember the soldiers who were preparing for the battle to start on 1 July 1916 in World War One.

Travel: Congestion on A518 in Stafford

BBC Travel

There are delays this morning on the A518 Weston Road eastbound in Stafford between the junctions of the A34 Queensway and the A518 Weston Road. 

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Our live coverage across the day

We'll be back with our usual mix of news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 tomorrow when we will in part be reflecting the centenary of the start of the Battle of the Somme.

Keep an eye out here for more updates this evening and into the morning. 

On Midlands Today this evening: Reflecting on the Somme centenary

Nick Owen

Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

Tomorrow morning marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme in World War One.

Allan Little looks at the enduring significance of the Battle of the Somme

All this week we've been reflecting the stories connecting the West Midlands to one of the bloodiest battles ever fought.

This evening we'll be live at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire where they're staging a candlelit vigil - join us from 18:30 on BBC One.

Football: Crewe boss to rank players in training 'league table'

Graham McGarry

Crewe Alexandra commentator, BBC Radio Stoke

Crewe Alexandra's manager Steve Davis is to introduce a league table that will determine how his squad is performing during pre-season training.

Steve Davis

The results will be published to the players and there will be a group structure to it. 

Sometimes when you put an emphasis on a league table and you get the top one who's the best and the bottom one who's the worst, I think it makes people push themselves as hard as they possibly can."

Steve DavisCrewe Alexandra manager

Football: Burton keeper pens new deal

Euan Duncan

BBC Local Live

Goalkeeper Stephen Bywater has signed a new one-year deal with Burton Albion.  

Stephen Bywater
Getty Images

The former Rams keeper arrived at the Pirelli Stadium in January to provide cover for Jon McLaughlin.

Watch: Tonight's weather update for Stoke and Staffordshire

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

The BBC Weather website has the latest forecasts for Staffordshire and Cheshire if you want the latest information at another time.

Rail passenger satisfaction down

Passengers using CrossCountry trains through Staffordshire say the service has got worse in the past 12 months.  

An annual survey by the transport watchdog Transport Focus found an overall drop in satisfaction on the route from a heady 96% to 80% over the last year.

However, there was improvement on some other routes operated by the firm.


Virgin Trains satisfaction figures for the London to Manchester route were down from 94% to 90%.

Meanwhile, London Midland customers think the company has improved, especially the stations they are responsible for.

Ruth Smeeth: MP 'receives apology' from anti-Semitism chair

Alice Bentley

Journalist, BBC Radio Stoke

Ruth Smeeth's tweeted this afternoon that she'd had an apology from Shami Chakrabarti, the chairwoman of Labour's inquiry into anti-Semitism.

It comes after the Stoke North Labour MP says she was "verbally attacked" at the event and has called for Jeremy Corbyn to resign for not intervening.

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News: Labour MP calls for Corbyn to 'resign immediately'; judge wants review into abortion clinic death case; school reopening delayed again

Lee Thomas

Newsreader, BBC Radio Stoke

This evening's headlines include:

- Stoke North Labour MP Ruth Smeeth has called on leader Jeremy Corbyn to "resign immediately"  after saying he did not tackle a comment made to her during the unveiling of a report into anti-Semitism in the party  

- A judge has called for an urgent review of the decision to charge medics - including a Stoke-on-Trent nurse - over the death of a woman at an abortion clinic in west London

- Plans to reopen a Stafford school, which shut after a number of pupils fell ill following a chemical leak, has been delayed again

Heartbreak as Tamworth family's puppy put to sleep after assault

Tamworth Herald

A Tamworth family has been left devastated after their puppy was viciously attacked at their home – resulting in it being put down.  

Front page
Tamworth Herald

Watch: Plans to reopen Stafford school delayed again

Chris King

Reporter, BBC Radio Stoke

Plans to reopen a Stafford school, which shut after a number of pupils fell ill following a chemical leak, has been delayed again.  

About 20 children were affected at Flash Ley Community Primary School and Nursery in Stafford in October amid reports of a mystery smell.  

An investigation did conclude that work to floor ducts last summer led to high levels of the chemical formaldehyde, Staffordshire County Council said.

However county councillor Ben Adams says it's taking longer than expected to make the site safe and they won't have it ready by September.

Analysis: Criticism of 'all lane running' motorway plans

Richard Westcott

Transport correspondent

More now on the story we told you earlier, that plans to turn more motorway hard shoulders into permanent driving lanes have been criticised by a Commons committee.

To give you an idea of what we're talking about - you might have already driven on something called a "smart motorway". It's where they open the hard shoulder to traffic when it's really busy.

Motorway traffic

"All-lane running" is different. It's where the hard shoulder will be open all the time, and for governments it's a cheaper way of increasing road capacity without laying down more tarmac.  

But some loud voices, including the RAC and AA, say they're not convinced the current design is safe.  

One motoring expert described it to me like this. Smart motorways have a belt and braces for safety. "All-lane running" takes away the belt and half the braces.  

Nikki Sinclaire

A former aide to an ex-UKIP MEP raised fears her expenses claims were being inflated six months before going to police, a court hears.

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Four jailed for burgling over 100 homes

Four men have been jailed after a spate of burglaries across Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Derbyshire, North Wales and Staffordshire. 

Gytis Dambaokas, Tomas Juospaitis, Grazvydas Kasarauskas and Giedrius Batutis, all of no fixed abode, targeted 120 properties which saw them escape with jewellery with an estimated value of £200,000, police say.

The four men
West Mercia Police

"These offences were undoubtedly concerning for the individuals targeted by this group of men, who gave no thought to the concern and distress they inflicted on their victims as they proceeded to ransack their homes," Det Sgt Andrew Chatting said.

All four - pictured above - were each found guilty of conspiracy to burgle at Shrewsbury Crown Court.

- Gytis Dambaokas, 30, was sentenced to six years and six months in prison

- Tomas Juospaitis, 31, was sentenced to eight years in prison.

- Grazvydas Kasarauskas, 34, was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

- Giedrius Batutis, 33, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Judge demands review into abortion clinic death case

Clark Ainsworth

BBC News

A judge has called for an urgent review of the decision to charge medics - including a Stoke-on-Trent nurse - over the death of a woman at an abortion clinic in west London.  

Dr Adedayo Adedeji and nurse Margaret Miller

Aisha Chithira, 32, from Ireland, died after the procedure at the Marie Stopes clinic in Ealing in January 2012.

Dr Adedayo Adedeji, along with nurses Margaret Miller and Gemma Pullen, from Stoke-on-Trent, were initially accused of manslaughter by gross negligence, but charges were dropped

Judge Nicholas Cooke QC demanded a review into what "went wrong". All three defendants had always denied the charges against them.