Election news in brief

Julie Porksen and Floella Benjamin at the site of the new Duchess's Community High School in Alnwick.
Julie Porksen and Floella Benjamin at the site of the new Duchess's Community High School in Alnwick.

Children’s TV legend Floella Benjamin visited Alnwick to check on progress being made on the new high school site recently and backed Lib Dem Julie Pörksen’s campaign to be the area’s next MP.

Floella, best known as the host of Play School, is now a Lib Dem peer with a special interest in education. She said: “It was great to see the site of the new school for Alnwick. As a Liberal Democrat in Government, I have worked hard to ensure children are prioritised - investing in our children’s future is essential for the nation’s well-being.”

l Labour candidate Scott Dickinson is concerned that 600 fewer GP surgeries across England are open in the evening and at weekends compared to at the time of the last election, according to new figures. He said: “It’s worrying especially in rural areas that so many GP surgeries could continue to be under threat. We need to ensure that they are properly supported, they can work with local authorities and trusts to minimise the need for hospital treatment and early detection for patients.”

l Lib Dem Julie Pörksen has written to the national body representing paramedics urging action to solve a crippling skills shortage in Northumberland. In the letter, Julie, who has been campaigning to improve ambulance cover in the area, raised the lack of paramedics in the county as a national priority.

l Labour’s Scott Dickinson supports his party’s commitment to lowering the voting age to 16, which would give more than 1.5million young people the right to have their say.

He said: “It is important to me that the young people of north Northumberland feel part of their future; at 16 they can do so many things, voting should be part of that.”

l Alnwick Chamber of Trade is hosting a meeting in the Northumberland Hall at 7pm tonight to which they have invited other chambers of trade as well as the candidates for the Berwick constituency. According to chairman Carlo Biagioni, on the agenda will be issues such as charity shops, the high street and out-of-town development.