The deputy leader of Birmingham City Council has started a legal process that could force Tony Blair to postpone the General Election until adequate safeguards are in place to prevent postal vote fraud.

John Hemming wants the High Court to allow a judicial review into the Prime Minister?s decision to go to the country on May 5.

Coun Hemming, who is the prospective Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Birmingham Yardley, said he was taking the unprecedented step of attempting to block the election because of the ?very real likelihood? that scores of inner city constituencies across the UK would be riddled by ballot rigging.

His stance follows the report on Monday by Richard Mawrey QC, the election commissioner, who found widespread postal vote fraud at last year?s Birmingham City Council elections. Mr Mawrey sacked six Labour councillors in Aston and Bordesley Green and hit out at what he called ?massive, systematic and organised? corruption by the local Labour Party.


The Prime Minister has pledged his support to struggling car maker MG Rover - as the firm announced a significant sales dip.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Tony Blair said: "What must be foremost in our minds are the jobs and living standards and livelihood of those people who work at MG Rover."

Official figures showed the Longbridge-based firm sold 12,545 cars last month, down by almost 17% on March 2004.

The company said in a statement: "Despite the current media spotlight on the company, we have maintained our market share in the first three months of 2.9%."


A woman drowned when a "seriously overloaded" pleasure cruiser she was partying on capsized and sank in Worcestershire, a court heard.

Failed attempts were made to rescue 45-year-old tax worker Jane Turner from the small cabin in which she was trapped when the 23ft boat overturned on the River Severn.

Three people were charged with manslaughter following the incident, which happened during the annual Stourport-on-Severn Land and River Carnival, on September 6 2003.

The court heard Ruth Pearson, 39, and Janice Ward, 42, were co-owners of the boat - called Sweetie Pie - and had been hosting a boat-warming party to celebrate their purchase earlier that year.

48-year-old Thomas Prescot, who was Ms Ward's boyfriend at the time, was helmsman on the night of the tragedy. All three deny the charge.


An attempt by Birmingham City Council to check the validity of postal vote applications is doomed to fail and will simply play into the hands of fraudsters, senior politicians have claimed.

Fewer than four per cent of the 50,000 people registered to vote by post at the General Election have responded to a letter from the council designed to find out if their requests are genuine.


The pastel suits and lacquered flicks might be a thing of the past - but 1980s pop band Go West can still pack a concert hall in Birmingham.

So loyal is their Brummie fan base that the pair - singer Peter Cox and guitarist Richard Drummie ? have decided to mark their 20th anniversary with a date at Symphony Hall.


Internet users have been warned to watch their telephone bills after a man was charged #400 for an international call he did not make.

Paul Johnson, a 36-year-old sales rep from Cannock, Staffordshire, was shocked to receive a bill for #600, with #400 worth of calls to the south Pacific island nation of Tuvalu - even though he had never knowingly called there.

Staffordshire Police said Mr Johnson appeared to have been a victim of a growing problem, known as rogue dialling.