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Less than four weeks to register to vote!

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. It’s easy to register – it can be done online and takes less than five minutes.

For anyone who doesn’t have access to the web, free internet access is available at all Sandwell libraries and at the council’s One Stop Shop in Oldbury.

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A suspended Conservative election candidate is likely to be removed from the party within days, a senior Conservative source has told the BBC.

Afzal Amin is accused of attempting a plot with the English Defence League in which they would announce a march in the Dudley North constituency and he would take credit when it was scrapped.

Mr Amin, who denies any wrongdoing, faces a party hearing on Tuesday.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today he would make a "robust defence" of his actions.

But the Conservative source said it would be hard to justify talks with the EDL.

 

Councillors in Sandwell have rejected a 2.2% rise in payments, as the council seeks to protect frontline services in the face of big government cuts.

Historically, councillors have had a rise in their allowances when council staff have had a pay rise.

Nationally, there was a 2.2% "cost of living" increase for local government employees that took effect on 1 January 2015.

At this week’s (Tuesday 3 March) full council meeting, councillors unanimously voted not to accept the rise themselves.

A paedophile has been jailed for 10 years for the rape of a young girl.

Phillip Hollis, of Round Hill, Sedgley, was jailed at Wolverhampton Crown Court after admitting to four charges of rape and a fifth charge of exposure.

The sex offences were committed on a girl under 13 years of age. The court heard how Hollis, aged 47, carried out a number of the attacks after smoking cannabis. The assaults came to light after the child’s school was alerted by comments that were made by the girl.

Dudley MP Ian Austin has hit out at UKIP after the party’s leader Nigel Farage was caught on camera calling for the NHS to be run privately.

A newly-released recording of Mr Farage shows him saying “I think we are going to have to move to an insurance-based system of healthcare”.  He added that he would be more “comfortable” if healthcare was opened up to the “marketplace”.

He told his audience that he was “being completely honest” about it

Poppy - Remembrance DayThousands came to Dudley today to pay their respects to armed forces heroes at the annual Remembrance Sunday parade and service.

The Mayor of Dudley, Councillor Margaret Aston, formed part of the traditional Dudley Council event, which also marked 100 years since the start of World War One.

Members of the community, civic dignitaries, students from Dudley College and cadets gathered in Coronation Gardens from 10am this morning.

The event included a service at the cenotaph in Ednam Road and a parade featuring armed forces veterans. Music was provided by the Salvation Army band and Dudley Performing Arts students.