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Arif Ansari, Political editor, North West

Arif Ansari Political editor, North West

This is where you can find updates on political issues in the North West, and my take on controversies from Cheshire to South Cumbria

Arif added analysis to:

Manchester and Leeds: Could they rival London?

The announcement is likely to be warmly welcomed by city leaders in the North of England.

For years they have pressed for greater political and financial control.

The Coalition has long promised devolution and a rebalancing of the national economy.

That's coupled with a chance to strengthen the Northern economy, partly through HS3.

For now, this remains an idea - there's no timescale or money. But it puts down a very important marker for the future of the region.

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Arif added analysis to:

Liverpool mayor threatens to exit Merseyside authority

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority was created to enhance co-operation between the five Merseyside councils and Halton. That's quite ambitious for a part of the world often characterised by rivalry and squabbling.

The government believes city regions can have more impact in terms of strategic planning and economic investment than individual councils working alone.

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Arif added analysis to:

Hazel Blears, MP for Salford and Eccles, to stand down

Hazel Blears became one of Labour's most recognisable politicians in the Blair-era.

She was always loyal and often smiling - something her detractors found irritating - but she wasn't bland and revealed an interest in tap dancing and motorbikes.

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Arif added analysis to:

No pay off for Lancashire County Council chief executive

Phil Halsall was a well-respected chief executive with major successes to his credit including enterprise zones and the Preston city deal. But when Labour took over the county council, questions began to emerge, not least over the aborted transport contract.

He has always defended his integrity and denied doing anything wrong. The new council administration clearly felt otherwise. A barrister, appointed by the government, was officially investigating what, if anything, had happened.

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Arif added analysis to:

BNP conference: I'm in charge, says Nick Griffin

Maybe 100 people will gather in Liverpool for this year's party conference but the mood will be gloomy.

It is the BNP's first major conference since this summer's leadership election.

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Arif added analysis to:

Hillsborough papers should be released - MPs

What was the point of the debate?

A lot is explained by the scepticism of the families who have felt let down and betrayed by the system on several occasions.

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Arif added analysis to:

BAE Systems to announce nearly 3,000 job cuts

On Tuesday, at three BAE sites, workers will be told the grim news.

Workers may well be shocked, having assumed that the uncertainty of the government's defence review was behind them. But there is a longer-term problem of fewer Typhoons being ordered than expected. BAE is hoping to win new export deals shortly to countries including Malaysia, India, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Japan.

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Arif added analysis to:

Boundary change plans put Salford in Manchester

The Boundary Commission's focus on equalising the size of constituencies, rather than maintaining historic links, is what's led it to propose some very unusual constituencies.

The North West will have 66 seats, compared to 72 at present, it's more if you include all of Cumbria. Only seven are totally untouched.

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More Correspondents

  • Richard Moss, Political editor, North East & Cumbria Richard Moss Political editor, North East & Cumbria

    Reporting politics in the North East and Cumbria


  • Patrick Burns, Political editor, Midlands Patrick Burns Political editor, Midlands

    Analysis and thoughts on politics in the Midlands


  • Andrew Neil, Presenter, The Daily Politics and Sunday Politics Andrew Neil Daily and Sunday Politics

    People and policies that make Westminster tick


About Arif

Arif Ansari is the BBC's political editor in the North West of England.

He's worked for the BBC for just over 10 years.

After starting his career in local radio, Arif spent seven years working as a political reporter at Westminster. He has covered the last three general elections and interviewed all the major party leaders.

Arif was born in Crosby, Liverpool and is enjoying reporting politics back on home territory.

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