Deborah McGurran, Political editor, East of England

Deborah McGurran Political editor, East of England

This is where you can come for my take on politics with an eastern twist - from Lowestoft to Luton

High noon for UKIP in Clacton

1 September 2014
Douglas Carswell
Douglas Carswell is a popular figure in Clacton, an opinion poll suggests

As he stood outside McDonalds in the centre of Clacton, the UKIP leader Nigel Farage was clear about the importance of the forthcoming by-election.

"This is high noon," he declared. "There is a lot at stake. This matters an awful lot to UKIP and the Eurosceptic movement."

The first walkabout with his new candidate, the former Conservative Douglas Carswell, went well. There were requests for autographs, lots of supportive comments and at least one person pushed money into Mr Carswell's hands. The only low point was when a woman walked past and shouted "traitor" at the former MP.

Douglas Carswell's defection has caught the other parties by surprise leaving UKIP to dominate the first few days of the campaign. But Mr Carswell has warned them that what he calls "the Westminster machine" will throw everything it has at both UKIP and him. He is expecting this to be a very nasty campaign.

Nigel Farage and Douglas Carswell
Nigel Farage went on walk about in Clacton with Conservative defector Douglas Carswell

Although often identified as a possible UKIP defector, it has only been over the last month that Mr Carswell started to seriously consider changing sides.

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No fun in the sun for politicians

7 August 2014
Penny Mordaunt
Coastal communities minister Penny Mordaunt visited Mobbs Way Business Park in Lowestoft

It should be the time for sun and sangria but instead it's statistics and a slew of announcements - it seems there's no time off for politicians this summer.

That's why, brolly in hand on a drab morning, new coastal communities minister Penny Mordaunt found herself in Lowestoft visiting a new business park.

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Why Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley had to resign

David Ruffley MP
David Ruffley, Conservative MP for Bury St Edmunds, is to step down next year

It is a cruel fact of political life that when an MP is forced to stand down it is the scandal the public generally remembers rather than anything else about their career.

Those are the unfortunate circumstances surrounding David Ruffley, who has announced his resignation after being arrested and accepting a police caution for assaulting his former partner.

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Cash boost to build east region science base

George Freeman MP
Newly appointed Minister for Life Sciences, George Freeman, welcomes investment at the Norwich Research Park

Science is what the east region wants to be known for these days and that transformation has been given a boost by two major new projects.

The government is investing a total of £26m in Norwich Research Park, while in nearby Downham Market in Norfolk, there are ambitious plans for a £170m science park.

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Elizabeth Truss joins the cabinet table in reshuffle

Elizabeth Truss MP
Elizabeth Truss MP, answers her first set of questions in parliament as Environment Secretary

Imagine the scene. It's late at night at the Conservative Party Conference and the then transport secretary, Phillip Hammond, is just about to call it a night, when rounding the corner, he finds his path barred by Elizabeth Truss.

"Give me a break," he pleads: "I know you want the A11 dualled."

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Millions of pounds of new funding for the East

Northampton College
A new campus for Northampton College is to be funded by local growth money

Hundreds of millions of pounds of government funding has been announced for our region and more than half of it will be spent within the next year.

This is a big award, which business leaders say will make a big difference, making it easier for local businesses to grow and the local workforce to be trained.

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Norfolk's burning incinerator issue: How much did councillors know?

Artist's impression of waste incinerator
The incinerator scheme near King's Lynn faced widespread opposition

The fallout from the failed waste incinerator project in west Norfolk continues - with questions now being asked over how much councillors were told about government concerns with the project.

Last week we reported that Bronwyn Hill, the permanent secretary of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), told MPs that her department had written to Norfolk County Council before the contract had been signed expressing fears the authority may not be able to meet the necessary deadlines.

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Outrage at incinerator plan "trainwreck"

King's Lynn incinerator plans
The plans for a new incinerator at King's Lynn scrapped by Norfolk County Council

"Ludicrous...daft...a train wreck". Just three of the terms used by members of the Public Accounts Committee to describe the failed waste incinerator project for Kings Lynn.

With Norfolk County Council facing a compensation bill of more than thirty million pounds, there is a blame game underway.

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Rushden Lakes development: MPs fall out over plans

Artist's impression of Rushden Lakes development
Rushden Lakes development includes a hotel, leisure centre, shops and restaurants

Adjournment debates in the House of Commons are normally fairly straightforward affairs. Some might even suggest that they can be quite dull: twenty minutes at the end of the day for an MP to draw a minister's attention (and that of the one or two other people still in the chamber) to an issue close to his or her heart.

The debate to thank the minister for approving the Rushden Lakes development in Northamptonshire (it's going to become a retail and leisure park) looked as if would be one of those which would be quickly forgotten.

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New A14 junction 'needed to unlock development'

Traffic on the A14
The A14 carries traffic from the port of Felixstowe to the Midlands

It already has a name, it has already has an exact location on a map, and several hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spent assessing its benefits but as yet, no one knows when Junction 10A on the infamous A14 will actually be built.

The plans for a new access road to the east of Kettering have been talked about seriously for the last five years but without any government funding it can't be built. And the lack of a new junction puts the plans to build 5,500 new homes and a new energy park at risk.

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About Deborah

Deborah McGurran is BBC East's political editor, based in Norwich.

She has worked in regional TV since 1990 when she began as a regional journalist for North West Tonight.

She has been editor for a decade and was nominated for an RTS for the expenses scandal story on Margaret Moran.

She moved to Essex with her family and started working in the east 15 years ago.

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