MG Rover chairman John Towers sought to reassure workers at Longbridge as speculation about the future of the troubled car-maker continued.

In a statement, Mr Towers told the 6000-strong workforce that the firm remained committed to completing a deal with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation.

A team of senior officials from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) have remained in Shanghai since the end of last week to take part in talks with SAIC and MG Rover.

Mr Towers said: "Firstly, I and the team here, recognise that this is a worrying time for our people and for the wider network of our business.

"In response to that I want to underline the continued commitment from ourselves, and from SAIC, for a successful outcome to our joint venture."


Tony Blair told voters "you're the boss" yesterday as Conservative leader Michael Howard visited Birmingham at the start of the General Election campaign.

The worst-kept secret in Westminster was confirmed when the Labour leader revealed he had asked the Queen to dissolve Parliament ready for a ballot on May 5.

The no-holds-barred nature of the contest immediately became apparent as Mr Howard came to Birmingham and claimed "patients are dying" because of Mr Blair's policies.

There was a minor scuffle as Labour activists holding anti-Conservative banners clashed with Tory party workers.

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy launched his party's campaign by visiting five major cities - Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds, Edinburgh and Norwich.

Also in Wednesday's Post - chief reporter Paul Dale examines the marginal Midland seats which could prove crucial in the forthcoming election.


The national divorce rate has hit a seven-year high and pushy parents are partly to blame, one West Midlands family law expert told Jessica Shepherd...

Kevin Harris-James needs a king-size box of tissues on his desk.

The partner at the Birmingham branch of city law firm Irwin Mitchell deals solely with divorce cases.

Not only are they increasing, they are also more complex than ever and one of the factors is the increasing interference of the in-laws.

"We're finding more and more that parents' involvement helps push already vulnerable relationships over the edge," said Mr Harris-James.

"In the last year, a third of the couples I have dealt with have told me that their parents have been a contributing factor in getting a divorce.

"Parents tend to be at their most influential in the run-up to and immediately after a decision is made to separate.

"Often this is because parents have given a child and their partner money for a property and when they split they have a financial interest in it. The money turns from a gift into a repayable loan."

Are pushy in-laws making your marriage a misery? Is your son or daughter too good for their spouse? Click here to e-mail us with your experiences.


Hospital bosses are determined to help Asian women conquer cultural barriers to health services after visiting Pakistan to see how patients are treated there.

Three executives from Birmingham Women's Hospital were shocked to learn some women in Pakistan "don't see the point" of ante-natal and post-natal care.

One woman they spoke to while visiting Mirpur, in Kashmir, claimed infant mortality was preferable to having a Caesarean performed by a man.