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Nick Robinson, Political editor

Nick Robinson Political editor

Welcome to Newslog - come here for my reflections and analysis on what's going on in and around politics

Is Conservative benefit freeze fair?

The prime minister often talks about benefits as if they are paid to people who don't work and paid for by people who do.

The truth is that the benefits freeze the chancellor announced yesterday will affect more than twice as many working families as workless families - seven million compared with three million.

The reason is simple - so many low income working families receive tax credits and, of course, everyone gets child benefit. What's more, this benefits freeze affects housing benefit when the previous 1% did not.

When I interviewed the prime minister this morning, I put it to him that he was hitting those he liked to call "hardworking families" at the same time as giving tax breaks to those who inherit pensions, buy a home or are millionaires.

Wouldn't a family with one partner working earning £25,000 a year think that it was unfair that they lost £500 a year when some people at this conference would spend that sum on dinner?

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Osborne - Benefit freeze and 'Google tax'

George Osborne

There is nothing George Osborne likes more than making twin pack announcements designed to make him look tough but fair.

So it is that he has just announced that a future Conservative government would freeze benefits paid to people of working age for two years at the same time as what will quickly become known as the "Google Tax" - a crackdown on what accountants and tax lawyers call the double Irish arrangement - a tax avoidance strategy that multinational corporations use to lower their corporate tax liability first used by Apple.

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Iraq strikes: Pure symbolism or precursor to Syria?

Six RAF Tornado strike aircraft will once again be in action over the skies of Iraq very soon - in theory as early as this evening but I understand that Saturday night is more likely.

The question today's Commons vote leaves unanswered is whether these attacks will mark the start of the third Iraq war in the past quarter of a century or what Ken Clarke today called a largely symbolic contribution to the coalition which is already attacking the forces of the so-called "Islamic State".

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Nick added analysis to:

MPs support UK air strikes against IS in Iraq

What will worry opponents of military action and those who are sceptical about it is the prime minister's clear desire to extend action to Syria. He has promised MPs another vote before that happens unless there is a need to move swiftly to avert a humanitarian catastrophe.

One well-placed government source told me that what he called "the next step" would be possible if people saw the success of action in Iraq or if IS carried out further murderous attacks on hostages, or targets in Europe.

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British military action in Iraq: what next?

David Cameron in the Commons

If/when the House of Commons votes for air strikes against IS forces in Iraq the next steps are becoming increasingly clear.

Air strikes this weekend

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Will Ed Miliband's deficit slip haunt him?

For just £2 in Manchester you could buy your very own souvenir copy of a speech by a man who wants to be your next prime minister.

A speech which will be remembered for two things - a promise to spend more on the NHS and Ed Miliband's failure to utter a single word about the subject he forgot - the deficit.

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Ed Miliband sets out CV for 'No 10 job'

Ed Miliband, with his wife Justine, after Tuesday's speech

Today's conference speech marked the start of an eight-month job application.

So said Ed Miliband. The role to be filled - prime minister. The decision to be taken - by you next May.

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Will the UK join military action against Islamic State?

David Cameron outside Downing Street
Downing Street officials held talks with Labour counterparts last week

One thing and one thing alone will determine whether the UK joins the United States in taking military action against Islamic State forces - parliamentary opinion.

David Cameron will not risk a repeat of the Commons defeat he faced last summer over air strikes in response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons.

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Ed Miliband to pledge rise in NHS spending

Ed Miliband

Labour leader Ed Miliband will pledge to increase spending on the NHS in England in his party conference speech on Tuesday, the BBC understands.

He will say a "mansion tax" on homes worth more than £2m will help pay for the extra funding.

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Constitutional change: The debate starts here

Alex Salmond

There has never been a day in politics like this one.

A vote to reject massive constitutional change in one part of the UK has triggered a debate about just that in every part of it.

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  • James Landale James Landale Deputy political editor

    Who is saying what to whom at Westminster and why it matters


  • Martin Rosenbaum, Freedom of information specialist Martin Rosenbaum Freedom of information specialist

    Thoughts on FoI and the issues it raises


  • Mark D'Arcy, Parliamentary correspondent Mark D'Arcy Parliamentary correspondent

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About Nick

Nick started blogging about politics for the BBC in 2001 when he was one of the earliest mainstream journalists in the UK to adopt the format.

He has been in his current role since 2005.

Before he was political editor, he did the same job at ITV News, before which he was chief political correspondent for BBC News 24, deputy editor of Panorama and a presenter on BBC Radio 5 live.

He began his time at the BBC behind the microphone, starting as a trainee producer in 1986 on Brass Tacks, Newsround and Crimewatch.

Based at Westminster, he has particular responsibility for serving the flagship news programmes, including Today on Radio 4 and the Ten O'Clock News on BBC One.

Born in Macclesfield, Cheshire in 1963, he attended Cheadle Hulme School, followed by University College, Oxford where he studied politics, philosophy and economics.

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