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Martyn Oates, Political editor, South West

Martyn Oates Political editor, South West

This is where you can find my take on South West politics, high and low, from Portland to Penzance

Martyn added analysis to:

Devon County Council to close 20 care homes

A few days ago the leaders of all parties on Devon County Council wrote to Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles warning cuts were now likely to affect services to some of Devon's most vulnerable people.

In September council leader John Hart wrote another robust letter to Mr Pickles claiming public services faced devastating cuts due to government underfunding.

Mr Hart, like many councillors and MPs in the shires, believes rural councils get far less than their fair share of central government funding - an argument repeatedly rejected by the government.

There is still no sign of a break in the stalemate.

In response to the latest letter, the Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis insisted there was still "immense scope" for councils to make savings and said the county had got an above average deal in terms of central government grant.

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Martyn added analysis to:

South West 'may lose on transport'

The South West traditionally sees itself as the poor relation when it comes to transport links.

The shortcomings of its antiquated rail system were highlighted by the destruction of the line at Dawlish in February. Road-wise, it has only one major link to the rest of the country.

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Martyn added analysis to:

Cornish people granted minority status within UK

24 April 2014

The less than snappily-named Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities prohibits "any discrimination based on belonging to a national minority".

More specifically, states which have signed up to it have to undertake "appropriate measures" to protect people against "threats or acts of discrimination".

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Martyn added analysis to:

South West MPs in HS2 support threat

26 February 2014

MPs don't always follow through on threats to vote against government legislation.

Neil Parish, the Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton, who hinted he might oppose HS2 today, also threatened to vote against the Local Government Finance Settlement but ended up falling into line when it came to the vote earlier this month.

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Martyn added analysis to:

Cornwall MP presses Charles on Duchy tax

Defining the status of the Duchy of Cornwall is a tricky business.

Despite the name, it has large landholdings east of the Tamar - including the Oval Cricket Ground in London and a third of Dartmoor - as well as extensive property in Cornwall itself.

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Who paved way for NHS regional pay?

21 November 2012
Hospital ward
NHS bosses in the South West want to introduce regional pay

Like a good fugue the recent parliamentary debate on regional pay in the NHS had more than one major subject.

Its principal theme was stated by Labour: the move towards regional pay deals by a consortium of NHS trusts in the South West was a thoroughly bad thing.

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Devon and Cornwall police candidates face crime rise

9 November 2012
Devon and Cornwall Police car
Devon and Cornwall's population is about 1.5m, rising to about 8m during the tourism season

Few would immediately associate Britain's most westerly police force, Devon and Cornwall, with an excess of either crime or controversy.

Which makes some of the facts surrounding the force in the run-up to the police and crime commissioner elections particularly eye-opening.

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Uneasy lull in badger cull battle

31 October 2012
Whether or not badgers should be culled has been a controversial issues

Until next summer at least, badgers - and those engaged in seemingly endless wrangling over whether the animals should be culled - live to fight another day.

The Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is adamant that his eleventh hour postponement of the cull is just that and it will still go ahead - albeit a year later than originally planned.

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MP Geoffrey Cox warns against any 'sordid boundary deal'

26 October 2012

"These are the zombie proposals. They are the walking dead proposals which will never see the light of day".

This verdict on the Prime Minister's mission to change constituency boundaries - theoretically moved forward by the Boundary Commission last week - has been delivered by a South West MP.

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Cornwall Council confidence vote in Alec Robertson

15 October 2012
Alec Robertson
Alec Robertson is threatened with a vote of no confidence

A Cornish council leader is threatened with a vote of no confidence.

He stands accused of "paddling his own canoe" - that is, pursuing his own agenda in defiance of the majority view of his fellow councillors.

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About Martyn

Martyn has worked at the BBC for 10 years.

Born and went to school in Cornwall - working back in the South West for the last 13 years.

Read history at Oxford University.

Started his career in newspapers and worked as Business Editor.

Leads political coverage for BBC news in the South West and presents Sunday Politics.

Covering politics since the early years of the Blair government. Appointed political editor in 2008 and clocked up his first election and prime ministerial interview within a fortnight. Recently interviewed Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband in the same morning; he's now aiming for the hat trick of grilling all three party leaders before lunch.

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