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

'Beautiful' Harlow blighted by illegal traveller sites, says MP Robert Halfon

  • 27 November 2014
  • From the section England
Caravans on roadside
Essex Police and the county's Crime Commissioner said appropriate action had been taken over the sites

Harlow is being spoilt by illegal traveller encampments, according to the town's MP, who is calling for tougher action to remove unauthorised sites.

In a debate at Westminster, Robert Halfon highlighted the distress the issue was causing, saying it had caused residents "misery" over the past year, when 81 illegal encampments had been set up in Harlow.

He says they're blighting the town: "Harlow is beautiful and I am proud to live there but illegal encampments are destroying our reputation and the quality of life of many Harlow residents.

"I have nothing against travellers as a community... but like most residents I cannot accept that it is alright to build illegal encampments wherever they like. Equality before the law means everyone should be equal before the law."

MPs' campaign

Bags of rubbish
Rubbish being dumped and anti-social behaviour were among the concerns of Harlow residents

MP Stewart Jackson said his constituency of Peterborough didn't have the same degree of problems. Nevertheless, he believes that "we need equity between the travelling and the settled community, otherwise vigilantism would happen" and he went on to describe how a caravan in the city had been set on fire.

Read full article 'Beautiful' Harlow blighted by illegal traveller sites, says MP Robert Halfon

More Power to the East: The devolution debate

  • 5 November 2014
  • From the section England
Big Ben
Will more power be devolved to the east?

Devolution and the East of England do not necessarily feel like a natural fit.

We are a disparate region of shire councils and market towns, small cities and countryside.

Read full article More Power to the East: The devolution debate

Norwich to London rail line 'needs £400m'

  • 29 October 2014
  • From the section England
Aerial view of Norwich Railway Station
There's a compelling case for more cash for the rail route to Norwich, says one MP

It must be a busy time for the staff who work in the post room at the treasury.

Every day, it seems, another plea for money for an important infrastructure project is sent to the chancellor as he puts the finishing touches to his Autumn Statement.

Read full article Norwich to London rail line 'needs £400m'

Fresh calls to send foreign prisoners home

  • 17 October 2014
  • From the section England
Prisoner inside a cell
There are 10,837 foreign national offenders in our prisons which make up 13% of the prison population, said Philip Hollobone MP

The issue of foreign prisoners in England's jails has long been a contentious one.

It cost Charles Clarke his job as home secretary when back in 2006 it emerged that more than 1,000 foreign prisoners who should have been deported hadn't been. It's also been the subject of several select committee inquiries.

Read full article Fresh calls to send foreign prisoners home

The Clacton by-election campaign gets into full swing

  • 18 September 2014
  • From the section England
People on a bench

It is three weeks since Douglas Carswell's resignation and the by-election campaign in Clacton is now well underway.

The candidates have been picked, dozens of activists are out leafleting and shoppers are getting used to being accosted by journalists and politicians.

Read full article The Clacton by-election campaign gets into full swing

High noon for UKIP in Clacton

  • 1 September 2014
  • From the section England
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."

Read full article High noon for UKIP in Clacton

No fun in the sun for politicians

  • 7 August 2014
  • From the section England
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.

Read full article No fun in the sun for politicians

Why Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley had to resign

  • 29 July 2014
  • From the section England
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.

Read full article Why Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley had to resign

Cash boost to build east region science base

  • 24 July 2014
  • From the section England
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.

Read full article Cash boost to build east region science base

Elizabeth Truss joins the cabinet table in reshuffle

  • 18 July 2014
  • From the section England
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."

Read full article Elizabeth Truss joins the cabinet table in reshuffle

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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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