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Louise Stewart, Political editor, South East

Louise Stewart Political editor, South East

This is where you can find updates on all things political from Westminster to Whitstable, and my thoughts on how they affect you

South East interest in English devolution after Scottish referendum

19 September 2014
David Cameron
Prime Minister David Cameron said an answer was needed on the so-called West Lothian question

The lights remained on all night in Downing Street - I am told David Cameron was following the results closely.

No doubt there was a huge collective sigh of relief behind the famous black door when it became clear that the people of Scotland had rejected independence and voted to remain part of the union.

Certainly, it was a bullish David Cameron who addressed the waiting press pack just after 07:00 BST.

He said he was delighted with the decision which he said had settled the matter for a generation.

Promising to deliver on devolution in the next parliament, he said there was now "a great chance" to change the way British people were governed and all parties bore a great responsibility to work together.

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South East concern over Scottish referendum uncertainty

12 September 2014
A 'Scotland Welcomes You' sign in Gretna at the border between Scotland and England

In less than one week's time people in Scotland will make an historic decision when they vote whether to remain part of the United Kingdom or to become independent.

In the past 24 hours Lloyds, RBS, Clydesdale, and Tesco Bank have all said that if Scotland votes for independence they would move their legal headquarters south of the border.

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Issue of Calais migrants trying to reach the UK is not new

4 September 2014
Migrants escorted off the ferry bound for England (3 September 2014)
A ferry bound for Dover was stormed by up to 250 illegal immigrants who were trying to force their way on board

The issue of migrants trying to cross from Calais to the UK is certainly not a new one.

There were riots back in 2001 and 2002 when the controversial refugee camp Sangatte was closed on the orders of the then Minister of the Interior, Nicolas Sarkozy.

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Thames Estuary airport rejection no surprise

2 September 2014
Artist's impression of island airport
The airport plans on the Isle of Grain were designed by Lord Foster's architectural firm

Few people will have been surprised by the announcement that a hub airport in the Thames estuary will not now be one of the options considered by the government when it looks to increase aviation capacity.

The plan, championed by the London Mayor Boris Johnson, was certainly ambitious and always looked like it only ever had an outside chance of being adopted.

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What does the Scottish referendum mean in the South East?

1 September 2014
Saltire and union flag
Scotland goes to the polls in less than three weeks' time

The South East of England is geographically closer to France than to Scotland but since the Act of Union in 1707 England and Scotland have been inextricably linked - sharing taxes, borders and crucially currency.

But that could all change on 18 September. Scots who no longer live there can't take part in the referendum but Stuart Harvey who has lived in Margate for the past 15 years has no doubt how he'd like to vote.

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Rail fare increases have become a political football

19 August 2014
Train ticket generic

Commuters across the South East - who already pay some of the highest train fares in the country - are bracing themselves for average season ticket price rises of 3.5% in January, following the announcement of the July inflation figures.

That means commuters travelling from Dover Priory to London, who already pay £5,012 for a season ticket, could face an increase of £175.

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Lord Howard wants fewer terminally ill people dying in hospital

Michael Howard, Lord Howard
Michael Howard, before his peerage, was Conservative leader during the 2005 general election

A hospital ward should be the last resort at the end of someone's life - not the first one, according to the Conservative Peer and former party leader Lord Howard.

Currently, around 250,000 people each year die in hospital.

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Louise Stewart blog: The spread of caste discrimination?

Villagers collect near tree where the girls were found in Badaun
Residents of the village of Katra Shahadatganj accused the local police of 'caste' discrimination

There was worldwide condemnation when two teenage cousins were gang raped and murdered in India in May.

The father of one of the victims said police refused to help search for his missing daughter because she belonged to the Dalit caste - formerly known as the untouchables.

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Will London Bridge work mean misery for South East rail commuters?

London Bridge station
The rebuilding of London Bridge station is set to cost £1.6bn and take years to complete

London Bridge is one of the busiest railway stations in the capital with 120,000 passengers passing through it every morning - many having started their journey from towns and villages across Kent and Sussex.

Most of them now face months of disruption as the majority of trains won't be stopping at London Bridge station during the building works taking place there over the next three years.

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State Opening of Parliament: Coalition 'fizzing with ideas'

The Queen and Prince Philip at the State Opening of Parliament
The Queen delivered her speech at the State Opening of Parliament

With the usual pomp and ceremony the Queen arrived for the annual State Opening of Parliament - this time in a brand new coach, gifted to her for her Diamond Jubilee.

But the other traditions - Black Rod knocking on the Commons door which is then slammed in his face - remained the same.

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More Correspondents

  • Peter Henley, Political editor, South of England Peter Henley Political editor, South of England

    Analysis and thoughts on politics in the south of England


  • Deborah McGurran, Political editor, East of England Deborah McGurran Political editor, East of England

    Analysis and updates on politics in the East of England


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

    People and policies that make Westminster tick


About Louise

Louise joined the BBC as a news trainee when she graduated and has held a variety of roles from TV reporter to radio and television presenter in Scotland, political reporter based at Westminster and most recently - since September 2010 - political editor for BBC South East.

Louise's career highlight was covering the last general election at Westminster.

She was the late reporter the night Gordon Brown came out of 10 Downing Street and announced he was stepping down, and when David Cameron and his wife Samantha arrived. She also covered the coalition agreement, emergency budget and has been following the spending cuts.

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