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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

David Cameron's Conservative conference pitch for 2015 election

  • 1 October 2014
  • From the section Kent
David Cameron giving his speech
David Cameron told the Conservative conference that he would lower tax rates

The prime minister has delivered his final speech to the Conservative conference ahead of next May's election, pledging to lower tax rates for middle income earners, tackle immigration and protect the NHS.

One of his key pledges was to cut taxes for people on low and middle incomes if the Conservatives won next year's general election.

He said a Conservative government would raise the personal allowance to £12,500. He also wants to raise the level at which people start paying the higher rate of tax to £50,000.

The Tories estimate the changes mean a typical basic rate taxpayer will pay £500 less in tax than they do now and increasing the higher rate threshold to £50,000 will lift around 800,000 people out of 40% tax

He also spoke of the need to tackle immigration from the EU and vowed to put controlling immigration "at the heart" of his plans to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the EU.

Read full article David Cameron's Conservative conference pitch for 2015 election

Conservative MP Mark Reckless defects to UKIP

  • 27 September 2014
  • From the section Kent
Mark Reckless with Nigel Farage
Mark Reckless made his announcement at the UKIP conference in Doncaster

Mark Reckless has always been a bit of a maverick - not someone who toes the party line.

In April last year Mr Reckless was less than impressed when the Home Secretary Theresa May cracked a joke at his expense at the Home Affairs Select Committee telling him that to break the law would be - "dare I say it" - a "reckless" move.

Read full article Conservative MP Mark Reckless defects to UKIP

Nigel Farage speaks to the UKIP party conference

  • 26 September 2014
  • From the section England
Nigel Farage
Nigel Farage is to stand as UKIP candidate in the 2015 general election in the South Thanet seat

It's a significant day for MPs as Parliament has been recalled to debate whether the RAF should join air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq.

Despite the tense debate in London, about half of the political journalists normally based at Westminster have made the journey to Doncaster for Nigel Farage's speech to conference.

Read full article Nigel Farage speaks to the UKIP party conference

Ed Miliband's Labour Party conference speech

  • 23 September 2014
  • From the section England
Ed Miliband at Labour conference
Ed Miliband was addressing the last Labour Party conference before the general election

Hundreds of delegates queued the length of the conference centre in Manchester eagerly awaiting Ed Miliband's speech.

It was a keen audience - he got a standing ovation before he even spoke.

Read full article Ed Miliband's Labour Party conference speech

South East interest in English devolution after Scottish referendum

  • 19 September 2014
  • From the section England
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.

Read full article South East interest in English devolution after Scottish referendum

South East concern over Scottish referendum uncertainty

  • 12 September 2014
  • From the section England
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.

Read full article South East concern over Scottish referendum uncertainty

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

  • 4 September 2014
  • From the section England
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.

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

Thames Estuary airport rejection no surprise

  • 2 September 2014
  • From the section England
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.

Read full article Thames Estuary airport rejection no surprise

What does the Scottish referendum mean in the South East?

  • 1 September 2014
  • From the section England
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.

Read full article What does the Scottish referendum mean in the South East?

Rail fare increases have become a political football

  • 19 August 2014
  • From the section England
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.

Read full article Rail fare increases have become a political football

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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