Yorkshire's frantic political year

  • 31 December 2015
  • From the section England
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption David Cameron launched the Conservative Party's first election campaign poster at Dean Clough Mill in Halifax

The phone call from 10 Downing Street came on New Year's Day.

By mid-morning on 2 January I was among a crowd in the marginal West Yorkshire constituency of Halifax listening to David Cameron making his first speech of the General Election campaign.

That slick opening presentation was made in front of a big poster bearing the slogan "Let's stay on the road to a stronger economy".

There was even a real road pictured on the poster. It was ramrod straight, pot-hole free and heading towards distant hills on the far blue horizon.

The assembled media discovered long after the Prime Minister had left that the road the Conservative spin doctors had used to illustrate his point was actually in Germany.

Yorkshire the key

Read full article Yorkshire's frantic political year

Yorkshire devolution: Who's in the running for mayor's job?

  • 15 December 2015
  • From the section England
Stuart Drummond dressed as H'Angus the Monkey Image copyright PA
Image caption The voters of Hartlepool twice re-elected Stuart Drummond - who ran for office in the guise of football mascot H'Angus the Monkey

So who will be putting themselves forward to take on the job of executive mayor in the new devolved regions?

In Yorkshire speculation is growing despite no clear agreement on exactly how many regions or mayors will eventually emerge.

Read full article Yorkshire devolution: Who's in the running for mayor's job?

Yorkshire devolution: Who says we want a mayor?

  • 2 December 2015
  • From the section England
University of Sheffield Image copyright University of Sheffield
Image caption The 45 members of the citizens' assembly were selected by academics at the University of Sheffield

It is now 16 years since the concept of an American-style city boss breathing a fresh "can-do" attitude into our sleepy town and city halls was first offered in England.

There are many imports from the United States that have really taken off over here but it would be fair to say that the idea of electing a mayor to take control of big chunks of local life is not one of them.

Read full article Yorkshire devolution: Who says we want a mayor?

Yorkshire's dash for devolution poses problems

  • 4 November 2015
  • From the section England
Leeds skyline Image copyright Leeds City Council
Image caption Councils across Yorkshire have submitted rival devolution bids

Yorkshire's dash for devolution is stalling as more questions than answers are being thrown up virtually every step of the way.

All sides appear to agree that shifting budgets and decision-making powers from Whitehall to Yorkshire on fundamental economic issues makes sense.

Read full article Yorkshire's dash for devolution poses problems

Muddied waters for Yorkshire's first executive mayor

  • 15 October 2015
  • From the section England
Gate at Sheffield Forgemasters Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Neighbouring counties are reluctant to hand over executive powers to a mayor based in Sheffield

There are a couple of snags with the idea that a democratically-elected executive mayor will take control of the new powers being handed down from central government to the nine councils agreeing to be part of the Sheffield City Region.

First, a third of the electorate will not be allowed to vote for the new mayor in the polls scheduled for 2017.

Read full article Muddied waters for Yorkshire's first executive mayor

UKIP leader still counting on Yorkshire

  • 25 September 2015
  • From the section England
Nigel Farage Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Nigel Farage addressed delegates as he delivered his keynote speech to the UKIP National Conference in Doncaster

Nigel Farage is adamant he has not parked his tanks on the wrong Labour leader's lawn by taking UKIP's conference back to Doncaster Racecourse for the second year in a row.

In 2014 he taunted Ed Miliband with that quip in his rousing pre-election speech to the party faithful.

Read full article UKIP leader still counting on Yorkshire

West Yorkshire council leaders backtrack on mayor plans

  • 3 September 2015
  • From the section England
A road sign for The North Image copyright ALAMY
Image caption The direction of travel for West Yorkshire's councils will be made clearer in the government's autumn spending review

West Yorkshire council leaders have announced they will make their own bid to government for devolved economic powers across all their authorities - led by a single directly-elected mayor.

The move came just two days before a deadline set by the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne expires on Friday, 4 September.

Read full article West Yorkshire council leaders backtrack on mayor plans

Will 'three-quid voters' decide next Labour leader?

  • 6 August 2015
  • From the section England
Jeremy Corbyn speaking in Leeds on the Labour leadership campaign trail
Image caption Jeremy Corbyn speaking in Leeds on the Labour leadership campaign trail

After a recent speech in Leeds two or three people in their twenties approached Jeremy Corbyn pledging they would be voting for him in the Labour leadership election.

All freely admitted they were not members of the party, and had no intention of ever joining unless the veteran left-wing MP won the election and Labour adopted his manifesto.

Read full article Will 'three-quid voters' decide next Labour leader?

How did Labour miss the bus in Yorkshire?

  • 13 May 2015
  • From the section England
Len Tingle
Image caption Len Tingle waiting for Ed Miliband's battle bus on rally night

As the seconds ticked away to my last live broadcast before polling day, Ed Miliband's big red battle bus was due to arrive at a rally right behind me in central Leeds.

But the bus was late and missed my broadcast by a couple of minutes.

Read full article How did Labour miss the bus in Yorkshire?

Lord Mason of Barnsley: Mineworker who never forgot his roots

  • 21 April 2015
  • From the section England
Roy Mason
Image caption Lord Mason served as Northern Ireland secretary at the height of the Troubles

Lord Mason of Barnsley was one of the most influential politicians of the 1970s but never forgot his roots as a mineworker who became the MP for his home town.

He was Labour's Defence Secretary under Harold Wilson and oversaw one of the most comprehensive reviews of the strength of the armed services since the Second World War.

Read full article Lord Mason of Barnsley: Mineworker who never forgot his roots