Officials at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre have moved to end rumours that chief executive Andrew Morris is stepping down over reasons other than family concerns.

Mr Morris announced last week that his 18-month tenure heading the exhibition complex would come to an end as he wanted to spend more time with his wife and two children who live in London.

But rumours have surfaced that Mr Morris has resigned because he failed in his attempts to buy the NEC.

Speculation that Birmingham City Council aims to sell the NEC have mounted since the appointment of Mr Morris, who has a #110 million fortune compiled from exhibition centres and a family shopfitting group.


The 104th member of the British Armed Forces to be killed since the start of the Iraq conflict has been named as Lieutenant Richard Palmer of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.

Lt Palmer, aged 27, a bachelor, from Ware in Hertfordshire, died of his injuries on Saturday after the vehicle he was commanding was caught in an explosion near Ad Dayr, the Ministry of Defence said.

The incident happened while Lt Palmer was taking part in a joint patrol with the Iraqi Army. He was said to have been "leading from the front" at the time.

Despite the best efforts of his comrades and medical teams, he died of his wounds.


Firearms officers for Staffordshire Police used their stun guns for the first time when a teenager was attacked with a Samurai sword.

Armed officers were called to a house in Newcastle-Under-Lyme just after midnight and found the injured 18-year-old and three older men.

A 58-year-old man rushed towards the police wielding a Samurai sword and had to be knocked out with a taser gun. He was due to be questioned by officers.


With its spectacular chapel, the dramatic gothic building nestling in the Malvern Hills has been part of Worcestershire's history since the 19th century.

Stanbrook Abbey, with its vaulted church built in 1871 by EW Pugin, has been home to a group of Benedictine nuns since they fled the French Revolution in 1838.

But now the fabric of the building, with its glorious cloisters reminiscent of their medieval predecessors and wonderful moulded cross arches and period floor tiling, could be lost forever.

Since it was put up for sale for #6 million a few months ago, English Heritage has received numerous requests from opportunist developers looking for ways to alter the building.

While English Heritage had hoped another religious order would take the building on and therefore retain its current use, others are looking at more dramatic plans, including turning the abbey into flats.

See Monday's Birmingham Post for more on these stories