Off camera on the EU campaign trail

  • 29 June 2016
  • From the section England
Nigel Farage on Vote Leave bus in South Yorkshire
Image caption His own way of conducting a political campaign- Nigel Farage UKIP leader on the top deck of his 'battle bus' in South Yorkshire

When political managers and spin doctors are fighting one of the tightest elections in living memory they will often go to the point of absurdity to ensure television pictures tell the message they want.

With the EU Referendum stubbornly stuck at neck-and-neck for weeks before we went to the polls stand-offs between TV crews and party organisers demanding to "check the shot" before their politician steps off the battle bus became an everyday occurrence.

Even with that level of scrutiny it did not always go to plan.

Take the prime minister's visit to drum up support for the Remain campaign among first-time voters in West Yorkshire.

On paper it was foolproof: a photo opportunity in a school library discussing the issues with sixth formers followed by an interview with me in a nearby empty classroom.

Two little words

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Historic EU referendum in more ways than one

  • 7 June 2016
  • From the section England
Harold Wilosn and wife Mary at polling station Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Harold Wilson, accompanied by wife Mary to the polling station in Westminster where they cast their vote for the 1975 referendum

Excitement grows with just days to go before the vote to decide our future place in Europe.

The Prime Minister is pinning his political future on the result.

Read full article Historic EU referendum in more ways than one

UKIP MEP Jane Collins takes EU damages escape route

  • 2 June 2016
  • From the section England
Jane Collins Image copyright PA
Image caption Jane Collins made her remarks in a speech at UKIP's national conference in 2014

The event unfolding in front of me should have been enough to send steam shooting out of the ears of any self-respecting UK Independence Party supporter.

A British judge was being stopped from awarding what were expected to be substantial damages against someone for a serious libel because of an 11th-hour claim that the rules of the European Parliament did not allow him to do so.

Read full article UKIP MEP Jane Collins takes EU damages escape route

Election 2016: Yorkshire voters face unprecedented polling booth choice

  • 21 April 2016
  • From the section England
Cross on ballot paper Image copyright Thinkstock

Voters in parts of Yorkshire could be forgiven for leaving behind piles of nervously chewed pencil stubs at their polling stations on 5 May.

Research shows that stress levels peak at the point where the pencil is poised to put a cross in the box against the name of the chosen candidate.

Read full article Election 2016: Yorkshire voters face unprecedented polling booth choice

Deadlocked Yorkshire devolution: Who will blink first?

  • 8 February 2016
  • From the section England
The future of Yorkshire (graphic)

With no end in sight to the deadlock blocking the government's ambitions for sealing devolution deals for Yorkshire it could be a case of who blinks first.

Can neighbouring local council leaders across West, North and East Yorkshire bury their party political differences and voluntarily agree to form mayor-led devolved regions?

Read full article Deadlocked Yorkshire devolution: Who will blink first?

Yorkshire's frantic political year

  • 31 December 2015
  • From the section England
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption David Cameron launched the Conservative Party's first election campaign poster at Dean Clough Mill in Halifax

The phone call from 10 Downing Street came on New Year's Day.

By mid-morning on 2 January I was among a crowd in the marginal West Yorkshire constituency of Halifax listening to David Cameron making his first speech of the General Election campaign.

Read full article Yorkshire's frantic political year

Yorkshire devolution: Who's in the running for mayor's job?

  • 15 December 2015
  • From the section England
Stuart Drummond dressed as H'Angus the Monkey Image copyright PA
Image caption The voters of Hartlepool twice re-elected Stuart Drummond - who ran for office in the guise of football mascot H'Angus the Monkey

So who will be putting themselves forward to take on the job of executive mayor in the new devolved regions?

In Yorkshire speculation is growing despite no clear agreement on exactly how many regions or mayors will eventually emerge.

Read full article Yorkshire devolution: Who's in the running for mayor's job?

Yorkshire devolution: Who says we want a mayor?

  • 2 December 2015
  • From the section England
University of Sheffield Image copyright University of Sheffield
Image caption The 45 members of the citizens' assembly were selected by academics at the University of Sheffield

It is now 16 years since the concept of an American-style city boss breathing a fresh "can-do" attitude into our sleepy town and city halls was first offered in England.

There are many imports from the United States that have really taken off over here but it would be fair to say that the idea of electing a mayor to take control of big chunks of local life is not one of them.

Read full article Yorkshire devolution: Who says we want a mayor?

Yorkshire's dash for devolution poses problems

  • 4 November 2015
  • From the section England
Leeds skyline Image copyright Leeds City Council
Image caption Councils across Yorkshire have submitted rival devolution bids

Yorkshire's dash for devolution is stalling as more questions than answers are being thrown up virtually every step of the way.

All sides appear to agree that shifting budgets and decision-making powers from Whitehall to Yorkshire on fundamental economic issues makes sense.

Read full article Yorkshire's dash for devolution poses problems

Muddied waters for Yorkshire's first executive mayor

  • 15 October 2015
  • From the section England
Gate at Sheffield Forgemasters Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Neighbouring counties are reluctant to hand over executive powers to a mayor based in Sheffield

There are a couple of snags with the idea that a democratically-elected executive mayor will take control of the new powers being handed down from central government to the nine councils agreeing to be part of the Sheffield City Region.

First, a third of the electorate will not be allowed to vote for the new mayor in the polls scheduled for 2017.

Read full article Muddied waters for Yorkshire's first executive mayor