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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

Autumn Statement: What in means for the South East

  • 3 December 2014
  • From the section England
Estate agent
Stamp duty will be changed under the Chancellor's plans

George Osborne spoke for just under 50 minutes and for much of it he bombarded us with figures.

He could not avoid admitting that he would miss his own annual borrowing target by £5bn but said the public finances would be less badly hit than expected by disappointing income tax receipts.

He also took comfort from the fact that forecasts for future years have been revised up by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), which means the public's finances are "in a marginally stronger position" than expected at the Budget in March.

We have already had several announcements over the past few days - at the weekend he announced £2bn in funding (not all of it new money) for the NHS. More money for GP services paid for by the fines on banks following the rate-fixing scandal.

But that was not the end of the spending spree for the banking fines.

Read full article Autumn Statement: What in means for the South East

Figures show migration to South East has doubled

  • 27 November 2014
  • From the section Kent
A Border Force officer checking passports at Terminal 2, Heathrow Airport in June
Official figures show the number of migrants coming to live in the South East has almost doubled

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the number of migrants coming to the South East doubled from 13,000 in 2012 to 26,000 in 2013.

The issue of immigration dominated the recent by-election campaign in Rochester and Strood with the parties arguing over the levels of immigration and how to tackle it.

Read full article Figures show migration to South East has doubled

Rochester and Strood: Mark Reckless win never in real doubt

  • 21 November 2014
  • From the section Kent
Mark Reckless with his wife Catriona Brown arriving at the Rochester by-election count
Mark Reckless and his wife Catriona Brown arrive at the Rochester by-election count

After what seemed like a long by-election campaign, there was another very long wait last night for the result.

It was after 04:00 GMT when Rochester and Strood's former MP Mark Reckless was confirmed as the constituency's next MP.

Read full article Rochester and Strood: Mark Reckless win never in real doubt

Louise added analysis to:

Rochester and Strood by-election: Labour's 'enormous effort'

  • 12 November 2014
  • From the section Kent

I think it is unfair to say that Labour has been invisible during this by-election campaign.

There has been a visit from the leader Ed Miliband, as well as a plethora of big hitters from the shadow cabinet on the campaign trail including Yvette Cooper, Ed Balls, Andy Burnham and Tristram Hunt.

Read full article Rochester and Strood by-election: Labour's 'enormous effort'

Rochester and Strood by-election: Four more smaller parties

  • 12 November 2014
  • From the section Kent
Rochester
The Rochester and Strood constituency includes Chatham, the Isle of Grain and the Hoo Peninsula

For weeks now the main candidates have been out in force - backed by their party machines and with the support of their leaders, but the smaller parties and independent candidates have also been hitting the campaign trail in the run-up to the Rochester and Strood by-election.

Britain First was formed in 2011 by former members of the BNP. They're opposed to plans for a new mosque and community centre in nearby Gillingham and against further immigration:

Read full article Rochester and Strood by-election: Four more smaller parties

Rochester and Strood by-election: The smaller parties

  • 7 November 2014
  • From the section Kent
Rochester
The Rochester and Strood constituency includes Chatham, the Isle of Grain and the Hoo Peninsula

There's been no shortage of visits from the main party leaders, including David Cameron and Ed Miliband, during the Rochester and Strood by-election campaign.

But as well as the big parties there are also several people representing smaller parties.

Read full article Rochester and Strood by-election: The smaller parties

Battle for Rochester: Issues beyond immigration

  • 6 November 2014
  • From the section Kent
Rochester town crier
Which issues are people in Rochester and Strood keen to see addressed?

Education, Education, Education was how Tony Blair set out his priorities for office ahead of the 1997 General Election.

Perhaps the Rochester and Strood by-election campaign could also be summed up in three words - Immigration, Immigration, Immigration.

Read full article Battle for Rochester: Issues beyond immigration

Medway Maritime Hospital in by-election debate

  • 5 November 2014
  • From the section Kent
Medway Maritime Hospital in Kent
The Medway NHS Foundation Trust was put into special measures in July 2013

It was clear from the party leaders' speeches during the autumn conferences that the NHS is going to be one of the key battlegrounds at the next general election.

And the current by-election in Rochester and Strood has given a taste of the fight ahead.

Read full article Medway Maritime Hospital in by-election debate

Green Party credentials tested in Rochester and Strood by-election

  • 4 November 2014
  • From the section Kent
Natalie Bennett, of the Green Party
Natalie Bennett is keen for her party to be included in the leaders' debates

Plenty of big-name Conservative, Labour and UKIP political figures have been hitting the campaign trail in Rochester and Strood, but Tuesday was the turn of the Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett.

She decided to start her visit at Lodge Hill - an area that has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, as it supports the UK's largest nightingale population.

Read full article Green Party credentials tested in Rochester and Strood by-election

Why is immigration the main issue in the Rochester and Strood by-election?

  • 28 October 2014
  • From the section Kent
UK Border sign
Why has immigration become the main issue on the campaign trail?

Immigration has become the main issue so far in the Rochester and Strood by-election campaign.

It may be surprising to look at the statistics though.

Read full article Why is immigration the main issue in the Rochester and Strood by-election?

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  • 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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