'Pause' hits rail plan for East

  • 26 June 2015
  • From the section England
East Midlands train at Kettering
Development of the Midland Mainline has been paused by the government

Over the past few years we've written many blogs about first, the campaigns and then, the commitments to improve rail services in East Anglia but should we now be starting to ask how realistic those promises are?

This week Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin was forced to announce that some of his much vaunted £38bn rail improvement plan will have to be "paused".

Top of the hit-list is the long awaited electrification of the Midland Mainline which runs through Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Luton to London.

It is understood project costs may have gone up by more than £1bn.

"Electrification of the Great Western Line is a top priority," Mr McLoughlin told MPs. "I want Network Rail to concentrate its efforts on getting that right.

Read full article 'Pause' hits rail plan for East

'Think big' Lib Dem members told

  • 22 June 2015
  • From the section England
Norman Lamb
Norman Lamb is touring the country in his bid to win the leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party

Norman Lamb has got his opening patter down to a fine art. "I can confidently predict that this is an election which will be won by a Liberal Democrat", he tells his audience in the lecture hall of a Cambridge college.

The East's one remaining Liberal Democrat MP is making his pitch for leader before party members in the region. The day before he'd been in Southampton not getting home until after midnight. In one week the itinerary also included London, Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester. Then it's off to Scotland.

Read full article 'Think big' Lib Dem members told

Labour leadership contest comes East

  • 11 June 2015
  • From the section England
Andy Burnham MP
Andy Burnham meets students in Basildon on his leadership campaign trail

They needed to win Ipswich, Bedford and Waveney if they were to have had any chance of forming a government but they didn't. Now the Labour Party is selecting a new leader.

Whoever wins will have their work cut out to bring the Labour Party back in this region.

Read full article Labour leadership contest comes East

Government early green light for promised road and rail projects

  • 3 June 2015
  • From the section England
Train leaving Norwich
The government was quick off the mark to announce the shortlist of firms for the Greater Anglia franchise

The new government isn't wasting time. Less than a month after winning the election, it's keen to show that it's sticking to its manifesto promises.

In the course of just a couple of hours this week, it made two important infrastructure announcements for the region. It published the shortlist for running the Greater Anglia Rail Franchise and it gave the a long-awaited go ahead for a controversial new road around Norwich.

Read full article Government early green light for promised road and rail projects

General Election 2015: Tories dominate in the East

  • 11 May 2015
  • From the section England
Chloe Smith
Chloe Smith increased her share of the votes while holding her Norwich North seat

On 16 November 2012, Labour's Andy Sawford stood on the stage of the Lodge Park Sports Centre in Corby after winning the by-election and declared: "The road to Downing Street runs through Corby."

Well, clearly it does, for last week he was one of the party's casualties in the East of England.

Read full article General Election 2015: Tories dominate in the East

Election 2015: Time for the east to decide

  • 1 May 2015
  • From the section England
Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

It's decision time. After the best part of six months of campaigning, manifesto launches, policy announcements and big name visits, there's little more that the parties can do. It's now up to people across the east to make up their minds.

"There are more undecideds this year than in 2010," Chris Hanretty from the University of East Anglia said.

Read full article Election 2015: Time for the east to decide

Road tolls: Paying more to use our A roads

  • 22 April 2015
  • From the section England
David Cameron standing by the A47 in Norfolk
David Cameron by the A47, one of the roads where it is claimed charges were being considered

The denials were swift and explicit. "Complete fantasy", said Secretary of State Patrick McCloughlin. "Nonsense", said his colleague Robert Goodwill.

But might there just be some truth in the Liberal Democrat's claim that two years ago the Conservatives considered charging motorists for using some of the region's A roads?

Read full article Road tolls: Paying more to use our A roads

Manifesto promises for the East of England

  • 17 April 2015
  • From the section England
Sizewell
All the parties, except the Greens, support nuclear power and a new power station at Sizewell in Suffolk

If the manifestos have told us anything this week, it is that the main political parties have different views on some of the big issues affecting the eastern region.

While their views on how best to tackle the deficit will influence how many people vote, their stance on things like transport, energy, the environment and immigration could sway a number of undecided voters.

Read full article Manifesto promises for the East of England

Liberal Democrats cry foul in election race

  • 10 April 2015
  • From the section England
Polling station sign

You know an election is in full swing when the parties start accusing each other of using dirty tricks. The first people to scream foul this year are the Liberal Democrats.

The veteran campaigner Baroness Shirley Williams has accused the Conservatives of targeting safe Liberal Democrat seats with the aim of "taking out" some of its senior figures.

Read full article Liberal Democrats cry foul in election race

Election 2015 in the east gets under way

  • 30 March 2015
  • From the section England
Houses of Parliament at sunset, London

We can learn a lot about the forthcoming election campaign here in the east by looking at what happened in Lowestoft last week.

At exactly the same time, both Transport Secretary, Patrick McCloughlin and the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Rachel Reeves, turned up for a spot of campaigning.

Read full article Election 2015 in the east gets under way