Midlands questions to the Prime Minister

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Image caption 'The newspapers shout a new style is growing, but it don't know if it's coming or going' sang Dame Shirley

In the words of that wonderful old song by Shirley Bassey:

"It's all just a little bit of history repeating....."

David Cameron's first Conservative Party Conference was in Birmingham. In 2010.

And so too, next week will be his successor's.

But this will be no carbon copy repeat of the Cameron Coronation in the Convention Centre.

While the thorn in David Cameron's side almost from the start was his Liberal Democrat coalition partners, Mrs May's 'awkward squad' are already flexing their muscles within the party which she has so recently been elected to lead.

And it's not confined to the increasingly vocal ranks of the dispossessed from Mr Cameron's administration: leaks and briefings about "lily-livered" or "submarine" Theresa during the run-up to the referendum may be written-off as just so much sour grapes.

But the Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard would never have been described as a "Cameroon" and yet he is among the influential backbenchers lining up to oppose Mrs May's signature proposals on selective education in general and grammar schools in particular.

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Image caption Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard is taking a stand against the Prime Minister's proposals on education

What an irony it would be if her speech on the meritocracy and the Education Green Paper managed to divide her own party while reuniting Labour.

It certainly seemed to be the one big issue issue around which Jeremy Corbyn could rally all his troops in Liverpool.

One survivor from the Cameron administration has now become Mrs May's first minister to go of his own accord.

Lord (Jim) O'Neil, a close associate of the former Chancellor George Osborne, and nicknamed 'the minister for the Northern Powerhouse', resigned last week.

Does this signal that her government is cooler on regional devolution? Or is it perhaps just that the Powerhouse is no longer considered quite so much the 'be all and end all' of the entire project?

How does that Midlands Engine rank alongside it?

We can certainly expect the Conservatives' likely, but so far unconfirmed, candidate for Midlands 'metro mayor' the John Lewis boss Andy Street to be make a right royal entrance as a conference curtain-raiser.

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Image caption Andy Street - bidding to be the Midlands' first metro mayor?

Paradoxically, the biggest and most widely predicted change during the May-Cameron handover period conspicuously didn't materialise: that Marmite figure in the Cabinet, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, remains resolutely in place.

And so too do the challenges facing the NHS. In last week's Sunday Politics Midlands, still available on the BBC iPlayer, I questioned Mr Hunt's Parliamentary Private Secretary, Halesowen and Rowley Regis MP James Morris about the multi-million pound debts mounting up in most of our NHS hospital trusts.

Only last week, the one responsible for major hospitals in Gloucestershire announced that instead of its planned £5 million surplus by the end of the financial year, it was on course for an £11 million deficit.

To avoid affecting services it would have to borrow £20 million from the Government. How can this be sustainable?

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Image caption Marmite man - Jeremy Hunt

These are just some of the Midlands questions to the Prime Minister as she prepares for her party conference starting this weekend.

Before she leaves Downing Street, I'm joining her in Number 10 so that I can put them to her.

For the answers, you will just have to watch Sunday Politics Midlands. This week, Andrew Neil and I will both come 'live from Birmingham'. Join us at 11.00 on BBC One this Sunday.