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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STORIES IN THE REGIONAL PRESS - UPDATED 17:45HRS

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'SIEG HEIL' COUNCILLOR TOLD TO RESIGN ...
'SIEG HEIL' COUNCILLOR TOLD TO RESIGN

Simon Cooke, the Conservative councillor who made a Nazi salute and shouted 'Sieg Heil' during a debate last week (see LGCnet) has come under fresh pressure to resign completely from Bradford MDC, reported the Yorkshire Post(p2). The GMB union claims Councillor Cooke has offered only a 'token apology' for the salute and shout he made in the direction of German-born Labour councillor Lynne Joyce. Senior organiser Steve Jennings insisted he should leave the council altogether. 'Mr Cooke's actions were outrageous and indefensible,' he said. The teacher's extremist website was closed last March following a complaint lodged by seach engine Yahoo!, reported The Birmingham Post(29/4/04, p3).

BNP CANDIDATE TEACHER WILL REMAIN SUSPENDED UNTIL NEXT WEEK

The British National Party told The Birmingham Post(29/4/04, p1) it would consider taking legal action to challenge the suspension of Solihull teacher Simon Smith, which took place after he declared his BNP candidacy in the June European elections. BNP spokesperson for the west Midlands Simon Darby said: 'I believe the school will let him back in after the weekend and that will be that. Simon has the full backing of the legal team and if he does decide to take action against the school, I don't think they have a leg to stand on.'

SCOTTISH EXECUTIVE PREPARES TO DEFEND CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCE IN SCHOOLS

The Scottish Executive is preparing to defy a recommendation from its own review group to drop Christian religious observance at school assemblies and replace it with broader spiritual development, reported The Herald (28/4/04, p1). Instead, ministers in their most explicit endorsement of Christian worship since devolution in 1999, said that the Lord's Prayer would continue to be heard in schools and that 'other cultures, faiths and beliefs will be recognised within the contect of a broadly Christian society.' The statement followed a leak to the paper of the final report of the religious observance review group, which has been with education minister Peter Peacock for more than seven months without a ministerial response.

LETTER TO BIRMINGHAM CITY COUNCIL'S SOCIAL SERVICES FROM MOTHER OF MURDERED TONI-ANN

The Birmingham Postreveals that Toni-Ann Byfield's mother, Roselyn Christine Richards, wrote to the city's social services in January last year asking care workers to leave her daughter in the hands of 'a loving father'.

by assistant editor Neil Watson

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