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

Could UK politics go a little bit Swedish?

Swedish parliament
The Social Democrat-led minority government has 138 of the 349 seats in the Swedish Riksdag

Imagine for a moment that a Conservative-led coalition is defeated at the general election.

It is replaced by what could loosely be called a centre-left coalition that includes the Green Party. But this new government does not have a majority in parliament. It represents only the largest minority group and survives day to day by scraping together temporary coalitions - deal by deal, issue by issue.

Then, two months in, there is a crisis. The larger opposition parties join up with a smaller, insurgent party to block the government's budget. A constitutional stand-off ensues. The centre-left prime minister with close links to the unions stuns the political establishment by calling fresh elections.

This puts the fear of God into all sides. No party wants or can afford another election campaign so soon after the last one. A deal is done between the establishment parties to break the impasse over the budget.

Incredibly, the new government agrees to implement its conservative opponent's tax and spending plans for four months. After that the government can begin implementing its own plans to raise taxes and spending.

Read full article Could UK politics go a little bit Swedish?

Hague opts for the lesser of two EVELs

William Hague

William Hague has chosen the lesser of two EVELs.

His version of this ghastly acronym would give English MPs control over the detail - and a veto over - English laws. But MPs from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would still have a role debating and voting on English legislation.

Read full article Hague opts for the lesser of two EVELs

Tory MPs at odds over English votes for English laws

Cross of St George and Union Jack flags outside a London pub
Many Conservative backbenchers want a separate English Parliament

WARNING: this blog contains constitutional stuff that can be complicated but does matter.

Along the corridors of Westminster a faint murmur of grumbling can be heard, a sound that for now is sotto voce but could soon explode into the open.

Read full article Tory MPs at odds over English votes for English laws

Policy costings: Battle of the nerds

George Osborne and Theresa May
Tories including George Osborne and Theresa May have accused Labour of unfunded spending pledges

I call it the battle of the nerds. Party researchers spend months noting every policy commitment, promise and hint made by their opponents on the airwaves.

They estimate how much these promises might cost. They then publish documents saying the sums don't add up.

Read full article Policy costings: Battle of the nerds

Autumn Statement: Osborne's political balancing act

George Osborne

George Osborne is trying to change the subject. For months now the national conversation has been dominated by everything the Conservatives would rather avoid: defections and by-elections, Europe and UKIP, crises in A&E, immigration and yet more immigration.

These are all issues that either favour the Conservatives' opponents or stop them talking about their chosen agenda, namely the economy.

Read full article Autumn Statement: Osborne's political balancing act

Gordon Brown: Giant of his age or failed prime minister?

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown is set to step down as an MP after 32 years

To his opponents, Gordon Brown was one of the worst prime ministers of the post-war era, a man whose ambition outpaced his ability.

To his supporters, he was a giant of his age, a politician who helped save the global economy and the United Kingdom. He could be brilliant and inspirational. He could be insecure and suspicious.

Read full article Gordon Brown: Giant of his age or failed prime minister?

What Scotland deal would mean for UK

Yes campaigners during the referendum
The promise made by UK politicians during the campaign is the most important commitment in recent years

If Scotland gets the powers promised to it by the Smith commission, the consequences will be felt across the whole of the United Kingdom.

First, there will be increased demands for more devolution elsewhere.

Read full article What Scotland deal would mean for UK

David Cameron and his new opponent - 'Colin the commentator'

The Chamber of the House of Commons during a recent debate on Scottish devolution
MPs have time on their hands and a lot to ruminate about as the election approaches

David Cameron has identified a new opponent and his name is Colin.

The prime minister wants Conservative MPs to stop talking about politics as if they are observers rather than participants.

Read full article David Cameron and his new opponent - 'Colin the commentator'

The future for our Parliament in an era of anti-politics

The Chamber of the House of Commons during a recent debate on Scottish devolution
MPs are counting down the clock to the general election, with key decisions put off until after the poll

Take a stroll around the corridors of Westminster these days and it will not take you long to pass a parade of gloomy faces: MPs rarely troubled by legislation in these dog days of an enforced five-year Parliament, hanging around with little to do but fret about the future.

Their fear is not just the personal uncertainty of an approaching general election. It is also the sense that the old political order is changing and they perhaps are being left behind.

Read full article The future for our Parliament in an era of anti-politics

Labour's morale problem

Ed Miliband

So what is up with Labour?

Well, here at Westminster we have a technical term for it: the party is having a wobble.

Read full article Labour's morale problem

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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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