Len Tingle, Political editor, Yorkshire

Len Tingle Political editor, Yorkshire

This is where I hope to make sense of the complex political issues and decisions affecting our daily lives in Yorkshire and the North Midlands

European musical chairs in Yorkshire

31 March 2014
Polling station sign
Voters have seen have seen only two of the six Yorkshire and Humber MEPs elected in 2009 remain in their seats

As we head towards the European Parliamentary elections later this year it might be useful to reflect on the remarkable game of MEP musical chairs in the Yorkshire and Humber constituency since the last polls.

There's been such an unprecedented round of resignations, defections and heated rows that of the six elected in 2009 just two representing the party they stood for at the time remain in their seats.

Labour's Linda McAvan and Conservative Timothy Kirkhope are the survivors.

Five years ago when the seats were shared under the proportional representation system election used by the European Parliament, they were joined in Brussels and Strasbourg chambers by another Conservative, a Liberal Democrat and one each from UKIP and the far-right BNP.

Tory defection

The first change came in 2010 when Edward McMillan-Scott, a former leader of the Conservative group in the European Parliament, fell out with his party and defected to the Liberal Democrats.

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Lessons from the Miners' Strike?

12 March 2014
Miners Strike "Battle of Orgreave" shaped later thinking of Sheffield academic Dave Waddington
The Battle of Orgreave shaped the later thinking of Sheffield academic Dave Waddington

As we approached the 30th anniversary of the start of the year-long Miners' Strike against pit closures I spent a lot of time revisiting my memories of covering it as a young television reporter and reflecting on the enormous social and economic changes that it triggered.

It is clear that a lot of others have been doing exactly the same.

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Miners' strike 30 years on: Worth the price?

6 March 2014
Memorial pit wheel
A new memorial is one of the few remaining traces of a century of mining in the former pit village of Dodworth

It was a bit like that famous scene in the film Zulu.

A small band of nervous British troops silently watching the horizon for the first glimpse of a warrior army they had never seen but with a ferocious reputation.

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Not much European election fever

27 February 2014
European Parliament Election special studio in Brussels
The European Parliament's election special studio in Brussels

Last week I stood on the third floor of the European Parliament building in Brussels watching engineers put the finishing touches to a glittering new open-plan "election" television studio.

It is a measure of how much interest there is in the upcoming European Parliament polls that television news channels from across 27 member states are already queuing up to broadcast from it.

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Deselection storms continue in Thirsk and Malton

5 February 2014
Anne McIntosh
A confident Anne McIntosh arrives for the deselection count

Anne McIntosh arrived at Conservative Party Central Office in London with history on her side.

Until then not a single sitting Conservative MP had lost a ballot of their own constituency members and been dumped as a candidate.

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North Yorkshire MP Anne McIntosh in de-selection row

14 January 2014
Anne McIntosh
Anne McIntosh returned as MP for Thirsk and Malton - but will she be allowed to stand again?

It is rare to hear senior officials of a local Conservative constituency party utter a single word of criticism about their MP - but the executive committee in the North Yorkshire seat of Thirsk and Malton have gone a lot further than that.

They are refusing to endorse sitting MP Anne McIntosh to stand again as their candidate for the 2015 General Election and want her replaced.

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Expenses shame of ex-MP MacShane

23 December 2013
Denis MacShane
Denis MacShane quit as an MP last year

Denis MacShane didn't just think he could get away with writing bogus invoices to claim thousands in extra parliamentary expenses. The former Labour minister and Rotherham MP thought he had a right to raise funds in this way.

In his mind he justified it as compensation for what he had spent travelling the world as an unpaid adviser on foreign affairs to the then Labour government.

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Yorkshire farewell to Mandela takes me back two decades

13 December 2013

The choir at Leeds Minster set the tone as Yorkshire folk made their farewells to Nelson Mandela with an upbeat anthem delivered in typical South African style.

It took me back 20 years to a very different congregation singing their hearts out in celebration on the edge of Soweto in 1993.

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UKIP: What's the price of Paul Sykes' millions?

27 November 2013
Paul Sykes
Paul Sykes is reported to have given £1.5m to UKIP's 2004 European election campaign

Yorkshire businessman Paul Sykes has made it clear he will not be content as a mere sleeping partner in a deal which sees him pledging millions to UKIP's campaign for next year's European elections.

Speaking to me at his home near Ripon the businessman revealed he can be as ruthless with his political investments as he has been in his spectacular rise from a scrapyard in his native Barnsley to a £650m fortune from property and IT businesses.

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Godfrey Bloom unrepentant as autobiography launches

21 October 2013
Godfrey Bloom book-signing
Godfrey Bloom signed copies of his autobiography at a launch party in an East Yorkshire pub

Yorkshire politician Godfrey Bloom has revealed he was ordered by UKIP's leaders to postpone the planned launch of his autobiography on the eve of the party conference a month ago as they thought it so controversial it would overshadow the event.

As it turned out the 63-year-old maverick MEP did not need his book, entitled Guinea A Minute, to do exactly that.

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More Correspondents

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  • Richard Moss, Political editor, North East & Cumbria Richard Moss Political editor, North East & Cumbria

    Reporting politics in the North East and Cumbria


  • Andrew Neil, Presenter, The Daily Politics and Sunday Politics Andrew Neil Daily and Sunday Politics

    People and policies that make Westminster tick


About Len

Len Tingle is the BBC's veteran political editor for Yorkshire and the North Midlands, reporting and commentating on the challenges facing of one of the most socially and economically diverse regions in the UK.

He is a familiar face on Look North, on the weekly Sunday Politics programme, and is also heard regularly on the BBC's local radio stations in Leeds, Sheffield and York.

Born in Barnsley, he reported on business and industrial issues from across the UK and the world for newspapers, ITV and the BBC before returning to Yorkshire in the mid-1990s.

"Think of an idyllic or exotic place and I've probably reported from a shop floor, steel mill or coal mine close by - then caught the next flight out without seeing a single tourist attraction.

"It was all great experience for eventually specialising in politics. Scratch the surface of any business story and a politician usually pops out - wherever you happen to be in the world."

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