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Peter Henley, Political editor, South of England

Peter Henley Political editor, South of England

This is where you can find my thoughts on politics in the south of England - from parish councils in Sussex to European politics in Oxford

Ashya King: Did politicians jump on bandwagon?

  • 17 November 2014
  • From the section England

Say the name Ashya King to most doctors and a pained expression comes over their face.

Talk to politicians about the issues surrounding the case and you get a similar reaction.

Of course, there is sympathy for the family who took their five-year-old out of hospital in the middle of treatment for a brain tumour.

Ashya King
Ashya was being treated for brain cancer at Southampton General Hospital

Every parent knows the strong instinct to protect a child in whatever way you can.

But the decisions taken in the face of the heat of the maelstrom that engulfed Ashya have left some big questions hanging in the air, one of the most significant centres on political interference in granting the family NHS treatment abroad.

Read full article Ashya King: Did politicians jump on bandwagon?

A free press is 'vital to local democracy'

  • 13 November 2014
  • From the section England

It's the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, adopted on 15 December 1791.

The right to a free press was top of the list of 10 amendments that make up the oldest bill of rights, standing the test of time over two centuries.

Read full article A free press is 'vital to local democracy'

Is Minister for Portsmouth a job for life?

  • 25 July 2014
  • From the section England

There were a few raised eyebrows when Michael Fallon was appointed the first Minister for Portsmouth back in January.

The usual reaction was: What will he do? Followed by: Why can't WE have a minister?

Read full article Is Minister for Portsmouth a job for life?

I sat in the seat of the F35 fighter jet

  • 24 July 2014
  • From the section England
F-35
The F-35 is the world's most expensive weapons project

A major disappointment for the crowds flocking to Hampshire for the Farnborough Airshow was the non-appearance of the new American-built F35 fighter plane.

At £233bn the new stealth fighter is the most expensive weapons order ever placed, due to fly with the RAF and on the new British Navy carriers.

Read full article I sat in the seat of the F35 fighter jet

Reading MP Rob Wilson turns down minister's job

  • 17 July 2014
  • From the section England

It has been an anxious week for many backbenchers hoping to climb the greasy pole.

Conservatives were waiting by their phones on Monday and Tuesday hoping to hear the Number 10 switchboard: "Just putting you through to the prime minister."

Read full article Reading MP Rob Wilson turns down minister's job

PM's reshuffle 'secrets' overheard on a train

  • 11 July 2014
  • From the section England

Sometimes the most useful information surfaces in a surprising way.

Amidst the swirl of reshuffle speculation, a conversation overheard on the 16:43 from Chichester to London Victoria has provided something more concrete.

Read full article PM's reshuffle 'secrets' overheard on a train

The new old science of the inter-web

  • 10 July 2014
  • From the section England
Sir Tim Berners-Lee
Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web

Michael Gove is changing the way England's schools teach IT.

His answer is coding. It's rigorous. Testable. Difficult.

Read full article The new old science of the inter-web

The art of the apology - why prompt is not always profound

  • 24 June 2014
  • From the section England
David Cameron
David Cameron admitted he had made a bad decision in hiring Andy Coulson

Maybe by making a swift apology the Prime Minister thinks he can take the heat out of the Andy Coulson affair.

The jury's verdicts were not complete, so maybe he had to skip some detail. But he could have waited. After all, three years has passed since he said this in the House of Commons.

Read full article The art of the apology - why prompt is not always profound

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UKIP gains seats and share in South East EU vote

  • 26 May 2014
  • From the section England

The ripples from the UKIP earthquake seem to grow larger away from London. The biggest surge in the South was on the Isle of Wight, where Nigel Farage's party took 41% of the vote compared with 22% at the last election.

Further along the coast in the Sussex towns of Littlehampton and Bognor, 42% of votes went to UKIP. These are areas that have seen some European migrant workers looking for low-paid work. They have also suffered through the recession.

Read full article UKIP gains seats and share in South East EU vote

How do you vote for a protest party?

  • 7 May 2014
  • From the section England
Houses of Parliament
The fixed parliamentary term means there's less incentive to vote to bring the government down

It used to be a favourite at the ballot box - a protest vote. Stuff the lot of them!

And the protest vote was often popular mid-term, when a government was losing its shine, starting to miss policy targets, with the sticky mud of sleaze slowing progress. It was a chance to leave loyalty aside and send a message to those in charge.

Read full article How do you vote for a protest party?

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About Peter

Peter Henley has been a reporter in the South of England for more than 20 years, covering five elections and interviewing all the party leaders since Edward Heath.

Favourite assignments include flying to Antigua at three hours' notice to report on a volcano erupting and mysteriously being unable to come straight home.

Peter enjoys old cars, new gadgets and playing cricket. He lives in the New Forest with his three sons and wife Sam, who's a counsellor.

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