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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STORIES IN THE REGIONAL PRESS - UPDATED 15:50HRS

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COUNCILLOR FACES CENSURE OVER TAXI OFFENCES IN ANTI-SLEAZE CRACKDOWN...
COUNCILLOR FACES CENSURE OVER TAXI OFFENCES IN ANTI-SLEAZE CRACKDOWN

A Birmingham city councillor who admitted driving an unlicensed private hire car without insurance could be stripped of committee memberships and suspended from carrying out official local authority functions. Mohammed Saeed is the first Birmingham City Council member to face disciplinary action since the adoption of anti-sleaze regulations in a new local government code of conduct. Cllr Saeed pleaded guilty at Birmingham Magistrates' Court last month to seven charges, reports The Birmingham Post(p1).

SECOND COUNCILLOR QUITS LIBERAL DEMOCRATS ON ISLINGTON LBC

Rebel Lib Dem Dave Barnes has become the second councillor to quit his party after being berated for critical comments which appeared in the Highbury & Islington Express. 'His colleagues were furious,' reports the paper (p1), after the councillor for the Highbury East ward slammed Lib Dem administrative assistant Ruth Polling for her involvement in a motion to regulate pornography at the national confrence. Cllr Richard Heseltine, who announced his resignation from the party last week, said: 'It doesn't surprise me. Dave has always been an independent spirit. But he will probably be independent of my independent party.'

COUNCIL'S ENVIRONMENT CHIEF ADMITS DOG MESS SLIP-UP

Camden LBC's executive member for environment has admitted that new rules outlawing dog foulding in the borough will be 'virtually impossible' to enforce. Cllr John Thane said moves to slap a£50 fine on dog owners who fail to comply in the borough's streets and parks would take a long time to make a difference, reports the Hampstead & Highgate Express (p19).

LIBRARY BOSS BLAMES CABINET SYSTEM FOR OVERSPEND

The councillor responsible for Camden LBC's libraries has hit out at leisure chiefs for telling him too late about the spiralling cost of the Swiss Cottage library refurbishment. Phil Turner, the lead member for leisure and community services, was speaking to an angry alliance of library users and councillors, who blamed the council's new cabinet system for problems with the overhaul of the 38-year-old building, reports the Hampstead & Highgate Express (p2).

METRIC MARTYRS SUPPORT LANDLADY IN STEIN FIGHT

A Midland landlady facing a criminal prosecution for serving beer in traditional steins in her Austrian-themed pub has won the support of the Metric Martyrs. Andrea Schultz has served beer in Austrian traditional litre and half-litre steins since opening The Cardinal's Hat in May. On 8 October, she received a letter from Worcestershire CC's trading standards department, saying that if she did not change to Imperial measures, she would be liable for prosecution under the Metrification Regulations of 1995, reports The Birmingham Post (p5).

STOKE-ON-TRENT LOSER GEORGE STEVENSON AND WINNER MIKE WOLFE COMMENT ON MAYORAL RACE

Mr Stevenson said: 'There is undoubtedly a trend across the country, where mayoral elections have been held. But the Labour vote held up well in Stoke, because we concentrated on the issues that people care about. Now we need to move forward, and we are certainly going to press the issues.' He also said of the BNP after the results were announced: 'Stoke-on-Trent is not a racist city and we must make sure our message gets out. Mr Wolfe said in his victory address: 'We are going to have to realise, particularly in view of the other results here tonight, that ignorance has to be rejected in favour of integration, that diversity is better than division. We are going to have to realise in our city, yes, that love is better than hatred.'

by assistant editor Neil Watson

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