James Landale

James Landale Deputy political editor

Come here to find out who is saying what to whom at Westminster and what it may mean for you

Reasons to be cheerful from Iain Duncan Smith?

Iain Duncan Smith

Borrowing may be up, immigration rising and the number of foreign prisoners stubbornly high.

But whisper it quietly: the government's plan for a new universal credit is no longer causing quite so many red faces around Whitehall.

Iain Duncan Smith's pet project to bundle six benefits into a single credit is designed to make welfare simpler and cheaper by removing disincentives to work.

It has been plagued with doubts about the computer system needed to process so much real-time information, the reports of poor management and waste, and the high turnover of men in charge.

But what was once an issue of embarrassment for the government, a Whitehall blame game that pitted Treasury and Cabinet Office against Work and Pensions, has now become an unexpected source of optimism.

Detail

Read full article Reasons to be cheerful from Iain Duncan Smith?

How will life change for UKIP?

Nigel Farage

UKIP has won a foothold in Westminster. This matters because it gives the party:

1) A voice in parliament. UKIP now has the chance to quiz David Cameron once a week at prime minister's questions. It can also table amendments and instigate debates. The full panoply of parliamentary pressure and publicity is now available to it.

Read full article How will life change for UKIP?

Lib Dems seek centre 'gap' as Tories and Labour shift

Political parties claim their annual conferences are a shop window to the wider world.

They speak to the country, so the jargon goes, and not to the hall.

Read full article Lib Dems seek centre 'gap' as Tories and Labour shift

David Cameron in Afghanistan at 'end of an era'

David Cameron shakes hands with a British soldier at Camp Bastion

There are 2,700 British troops left in Afghanistan - most of them here at Camp Bastion - and hundreds of them gathered round the prime minister to hear him thank them one last time before they leave at the end of the year.

Camp Bastion was once a huge military city in the desert, a headquarters the size of Reading that served 137 British bases across Helmand.

Read full article David Cameron in Afghanistan at 'end of an era'

Islamic State strikes: UK expects 'long game' in Iraq attacks

A screengrab from a video apparently showing armed Islamic State fighters
MPs are expected to give their backing to air strikes against Islamic State

"Don't expect fireworks." That was the view of one government source describing the imminent military action by RAF warplanes against Islamic State (IS) targets in Iraq.

Instead of one or two symbolic attacks, the source said there would be a steady stream of air strikes as and when IS targets presented themselves.

Read full article Islamic State strikes: UK expects 'long game' in Iraq attacks

When will we know about air strikes on Islamic State?

Barack Obama and David Cameron

So, are British aircraft about to take part in strikes against Islamic State? Most MPs expect it to happen at some stage. But, despite all the fevered speculation of parliament being recalled later this week, I do not think we are quite there yet. Here is why:

Timing

David Cameron is in New York having talks with the US, the Iranians and others at the United Nations. He will meet President Obama on Wednesday before giving a speech to the UN General Assembly at midnight UK time. He is not expected back until Thursday morning. He is not thought likely to make a firm decision until he holds further consultations with his ministers and security advisers.

Read full article When will we know about air strikes on Islamic State?

West Lothian question continues to puzzle

Saltire over Westminster

Lingering in the margins of Labour's conference on Sunday has been a simple question with a complicated answer: is the promise of further devolution to Scotland conditional on England getting the same?

Let us examine the evidence.

Read full article West Lothian question continues to puzzle

The politics of the English Question

Flags

The Downing Street constitutional declaration - as it will become known - marks the start of what potentially could be massive constitutional change.

In particular, the prime minister has promised to give English MPs a greater say over legislation that affects England. He made clear this would cover the same issues over which Scotland will have greater control - tax, spending and welfare. And the changes will be agreed at the same pace with draft legislation by January.

Read full article The politics of the English Question

Conservative MPs asked about military action

So, the Conservative leadership has begun asking Tory MPs for their views about the possibility of military action against Islamic State.

One Conservative MP told me he had been asked two specific questions by his whip, an MP who enforces discipline in the House of Commons for the government.

Read full article Conservative MPs asked about military action

Sir John Major praises immigrants for 'guts and drive'

Sir John Major

Sir John Major has praised immigrants for having what he called "the very Conservative instinct" of wanting to improve their lives.

Immigrants had the "guts and drive" to travel halfway across the world to better themselves and their families, the former prime minister said.

Read full article Sir John Major praises immigrants for 'guts and drive'

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About James

James has been walking the streets and corridors of Westminster for almost two decades. He has worked in his current role as the BBC's deputy political editor since July 2009. Before that he spent five years as chief political correspondent leading all 24-hour news coverage from Westminster.

He has presented programmes such as The Andrew Marr Show, The Westminster Hour, The World This Weekend, Broadcasting House, Daily Politics and Straight Talk.

James joined the BBC in 2003 after a spending a decade at The Times newspaper, primarily as a political correspondent in the Westminster lobby. He also worked as the paper's Brussels correspondent and assistant foreign news editor.

He has written two books, Duel: A True Story of Death and Honour and Landale's Cautionary Tales: Comic Verse for the 21st Century.

He lives with his family in Hampshire.

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