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John Hess, Political editor, East Midlands

John Hess Political editor, East Midlands

This is where you can find my musings on the political scene from Westminster to the East Midlands

Grow more food, urge MPs, as farmers warn of shortages

11 August 2014

So is Britain in danger of running out of food? It may seem an odd question since the shelves of our supermarkets appear full. Next time, why not check how much of it is imported.

Our farmers and politicians are starting to talk of the need for Britain to be self-sufficient in growing its own food.

"We're aware of the need of energy security. We now have to think in terms of food security, otherwise we'll start to run out," Conservative MP Mark Spencer told me.

He runs his own farm just north of Nottingham and should know his onions.

"This also means the public and policy makers being more prepared to accept genetically modified food," he added.

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WW1: The war to end all wars? What our MPs thought

24 July 2014
Soldiers head to the trenches

So just imagine what it must have been like 100 years ago, as the prime minister of the day Herbert Asquith faced the prospect of Britain at war with Germany.

HH Asquith was prime minister of a coalition government in 1914. Sound familiar?

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East Midlands councils warn on migrant pressures

17 July 2014
A Boston street
Boston has the highest proportion of residents born in EU accession countries

Wholesale changes to how local councils cope with an influx of foreign migrants coming into the East Midlands are being urged in a new report.

It wants more funding to help migrants return to their country of origin and more English language classes for migrants. It also warns of increasing racial prejudice.

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Cities will lose out without new powers, warns leader

4 July 2014
Sir Peter Soulsby at the science museum
Sir Peter Soulsby said Abbey pumping station was a reminder of the powers Victorian political leaders had

Gleaming in brass and polished tiles, the Abbey pumping station in Leicester is one of those tucked away Victorian gems.

It was the brainchild of civic leaders who wanted clean, safe water pumped throughout a growing city. It's also a reminder of the powers once enjoyed by political leaders in our big English cities.

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Tories relish victory over UKIP in Newark by-election

6 June 2014
Conservative Robert Jenrick at Newark by-election declaration
Robert Jenrick won by more than 7,000 votes and promised to concentrate on local issues

So it's a moment to savour for the Conservatives in Newark.

Their candidate Robert Jenrick, an auction house director, hammered home 17,431 votes to win the seat… and in some style.

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Newark by-election test for Tories - can they hold on?

30 May 2014
The town grew around Newark Castle, now ruined, and a large market place, now lined with historic buildings

You can always tell when parliamentary candidates start to get a bit weary.

The smile is switched on but the eyes are in pause mode.

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John added analysis to:

UKIP tops Euro poll in East Midlands

26 May 2014

So UKIP can celebrate. They return two MEPs. That was expected.

What was not expected was a particularly strong performance by the Conservatives who also sent two MEPs to the European Parliament. That will particularly please the Prime Minister with a crucial parliamentary by-election in Newark around the corner.

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Elections 2014: East Midlands Euro elections count task

22 May 2014
David Cook
David Cook said 20,000 staff are involved in the count

When the voting for the European Parliamentary elections is over, spare a thought for David Cook.

He is the senior council boss with the responsibility for ensuring the smooth running of the ballot and the count in the East Midlands.

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Parties set to battle over Newark by-election contest

9 May 2014
Candidates are lining up for the Newark by-election

The Nottinghamshire market town of Newark is no stranger to hand-to-hand political battles.

King John died in its walled castle. Was it a political killing? In the Civil War, the Royalists came a cropper at the hands of the parliamentarians.

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Euro elections: Bringing Brussels closer to home?

25 April 2014
Cafe Bruxelles in Leicester
Despite Leicester's Cafe Bruxelles taking its name from the seat of EU power, its owner is Eurosceptic

With a replica of Manneken Pis on the outside and a Tintin lookalike inside, it's hard to believe that Café Bruxelles is actually in the heart of Leicester city centre.

Just chat to the bar staff and you soon get a flavour of the very British ambivalence towards Brussels as the heart of the European Union.

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More Correspondents

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

    Analysis and thoughts on politics in the Midlands

  • Tim Iredale, Political editor, Yorkshire & Lincolnshire Tim Iredale Political editor, Yorkshire & Lincolnshire

    Analysis of politics in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

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

    People and policies that make Westminster tick

About John

John joined the BBC in 1978, and was appointed the East Midlands' first political editor in 1998.

Career highlights include interviewing four Prime Ministers and the many voters who wish they could.

John now lives near the Trent Bridge cricket ground, having returned to the Midlands in 1996.

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