What price for democracy?

  • 5 November 2016
  • From the section England
Councillor Rosita Page
Image caption Councillor Rosita Page is known as a "double or twin hatter"

The clock is moving on towards lunch time and Leicestershire County Councillor Rosita Page is anxious to get away. She's been here since 10 o'clock at a Learning Disability Forum.

Ms Page is part of the ruling Tory group and is observing the meeting as part of her responsibility for adult social care, which takes more than half the authority's budget - £127 million pounds.

She has to be 35 miles away in Market Harborough by quarter to two to chair a meeting on community safety. Because she's also a district councillor. More than half the county councillors in the East Midlands do the same thing. They're known as double or twin hatters.

Some say if we're electing the same councillors to both positions what's the point of having two authorities?

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Conservative MP Anna Soubry wants to get rid of district and borough councils

The Conservative MP for Broxtowe, Anna Soubry, is one of those who believes it would be cost effective and better for democracy if we got rid of district and borough councils.

Read full article What price for democracy?

Does Theresa May have support in Labour's Mansfield?

Theresa May Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Is it all hail May in Mansfield?

They have had a Labour MP in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, since 1922 - so it's hardly natural Tory territory.

But in the knowledge the Prime Minister was about to tell the party conference about a shift to the centre ground, an appeal to "ordinary working class people", I left Birmingham the night before the speech to find out what some real voters, in the Labour stronghold, thought.

Read full article Does Theresa May have support in Labour's Mansfield?

Rain, more rain and no Brexit at Labour Party Conference

Labour Party Conference Image copyright AFP
Image caption Labour's 2016 party conference took place in Liverpool

Like the weather there was sunshine optimism here. Talk of moving on, taking the fight to the enemy.

There was also constant drizzle and several soak-you-to-the-skin rain showers. Gloom.

Read full article Rain, more rain and no Brexit at Labour Party Conference

Devolution headaches for East Midlands MPs

Boarded up shops in Worksop
Image caption Worksop in the Bassetlaw area of Nottinghamshire is in need of investment

With a possible shake-up of local government in the East Midlands to be decided in the autumn, Nottinghamshire's politicians are haggling over what is best for the county's residents.

East Markham is a quiet Nottinghamshire village. It has a pub and a primary school and the last shop closed five years ago. But it does have an ancient monument - the East Markham Pinfold.

Read full article Devolution headaches for East Midlands MPs

Tremors continue after the EU referendum

  • 18 July 2016
  • From the section England
Boris Johnson at East Midlands Airport Image copyright PA
Image caption Boris Johnson arrived at East Midlands Airport to campaign before the referendum

You know things are fast moving when you lose track of what day it is...

There was a point during the unprecedented political upheaval when I could not understand why the essentially viewed "This Week" was not on the BBC iPlayer to watch over breakfast. Then it dawned. Wrong dawn. Wrong day.

Read full article Tremors continue after the EU referendum

EU referendum: Did Bulwell back Nigel Farage's 'Great Escape'?

Farage on his bus
Image caption Nigel Farage spoke to people from the top of his bus

Nigel Farage's bus was running late because of an extended lunch break at a village pub in Leicestershire.

But those UKIP supporters who had come from around the East Midlands to greet their leader used some of the time waiting in Bulwell Market to hand out leaflets to a few cautious shoppers and a few receptive ones.

Read full article EU referendum: Did Bulwell back Nigel Farage's 'Great Escape'?

Ken Clarke MP: Post-budget Tory pressures and strains

  • 25 March 2016
  • From the section England
Older woman holding money Image copyright PA
Image caption Figures showed the biggest losers in the budget were the poorest families and the winners wealthy pensioners

There's one thing all Conservatives have agreed on this week - Iain Duncan Smith had turned the welfare system around and was doing a great job before resigning.

After a weekend when the infighting was at its height, there was - by Monday - an acceptance that making £4bn of savings on disability payments was the wrong thing to do.

Read full article Ken Clarke MP: Post-budget Tory pressures and strains

Funding crisis: East Midlands councils' future challenges

  • 16 March 2016
  • From the section England
Money Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Many local authorities have struggled due to a cut in central government grants

"It's all about taking an opportunity in a crisis," says the outgoing Conservative leader of Melton Borough Council.

Byron Rhodes is taking me around the modern council headquarters. It's full of light. It's busy.

Read full article Funding crisis: East Midlands councils' future challenges

East Midlands schools 'struggling to recruit'

  • 10 February 2016
  • From the section England
Pupils taking exams Image copyright PA
Image caption The Department for Education said there is no problem in recruiting or retaining teachers

Crisis? What crisis? It's the phrase assigned to Labour Prime Minister Jim Callaghan who denied chaos in the economy. Now there is government denial that there is a crisis in the recruitment of teachers.

But the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) has said there is a growing shortage.

Read full article East Midlands schools 'struggling to recruit'

Magna Park: Why MP objects to job creation

  • 23 January 2016
  • From the section England
Traffic
Image caption People living in the area are worried about an increase in the number of lorries heading to the distribution centre

It's not a line you hear very often. MP doesn't want hundreds of new jobs in his constituency. That's true for the Conservative MP for South Leicestershire, Alberto Costa. It's a standpoint he's had to take after consulting the people who matter most to him - those who voted for him at the last election.

It's all over plans to double the size of the area covered by what is already the biggest distribution centre in Europe.

Read full article Magna Park: Why MP objects to job creation