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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

Dorset's Christopher Chope drawn to UKIP debate

  • 11 December 2014
  • From the section Dorset

"Let's have a little sport!" was Chris Chope's reaction to hearing about UKIP's historic first debate in the House of Commons.

Chris Chope MP

It had been called by Douglas Carswell on the subject of energy prices, and UKIP's second MP Mark Reckless came to support his colleague in Grand Committee room off Westminster Hall.

Carswell gave an impassioned speech decrying the green taxes of the three major parties.

We are living in "an Alice-in-Wonderland world" he said, where "ministers are competing to be the mad hatter".

The minister replying to the speech was Minister for Portsmouth Matt Hancock, and he probably expected to be the only Conservative facing his former colleague.

Read full article Dorset's Christopher Chope drawn to UKIP debate

Is it ever OK to play Candy Crush in a meeting?

  • 8 December 2014
  • From the section England

Politicians have been playing games in meetings since meetings began. Running rings around your opponents is in the job description.

But the MP caught playing the addictive game Candy Crush in Parliament has opened a can of worms.

Read full article Is it ever OK to play Candy Crush in a meeting?

The only certainties are death and taxes

  • 4 December 2014
  • From the section England

"It's not slab, it's variable", that was my helpful phrase for Autumn Statement day, as we struggled to work out what the chancellor had done to Stamp Duty.

The old system was simple, but threw up a problem. Huge spikes of house sales at £250,000 and £500,000 - just below the threshold of a higher rate stamp duty. The treasury's graph illustrates it well:

stamp duty graph

Read full article The only certainties are death and taxes

Is the £15bn for new roads a vote winner?

Traffic cone

The newspapers are saying the announcement of new money for road improvements is all about appealing to voters in marginal seats. There are three problems with that.

Election timing

However, the timing of this is all about the election.

Read full article Is the £15bn for new roads a vote winner?

Farage blasts MP Turner over recall

  • 24 November 2014
  • From the section England
Andrew Turner - MP for the Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight Conservative MP Andrew Turner must be wondering who else has got it in for him.

Independents have taken over the council. Private Eye magazine has been trawling through his old expenses. Even former Conservative colleagues compiled a dossier of allegations. That was rejected by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner but the local newspaper is still demanding answers.

Read full article Farage blasts MP Turner over recall

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.

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

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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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