Martyn Oates, Political editor, South West

Martyn Oates Political editor, South West

This is where you can find my take on South West politics, high and low, from Portland to Penzance

Martyn added analysis to:

Devon County Council to close 20 care homes

A few days ago the leaders of all parties on Devon County Council wrote to Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles warning cuts were now likely to affect services to some of Devon's most vulnerable people.

In September council leader John Hart wrote another robust letter to Mr Pickles claiming public services faced devastating cuts due to government underfunding.

Mr Hart, like many councillors and MPs in the shires, believes rural councils get far less than their fair share of central government funding - an argument repeatedly rejected by the government.

There is still no sign of a break in the stalemate.

In response to the latest letter, the Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis insisted there was still "immense scope" for councils to make savings and said the county had got an above average deal in terms of central government grant.

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Martyn added analysis to:

South West 'may lose on transport'

The South West traditionally sees itself as the poor relation when it comes to transport links.

The shortcomings of its antiquated rail system were highlighted by the destruction of the line at Dawlish in February. Road-wise, it has only one major link to the rest of the country.

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Martyn added analysis to:

Cornish people granted minority status within UK

24 April 2014

The less than snappily-named Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities prohibits "any discrimination based on belonging to a national minority".

More specifically, states which have signed up to it have to undertake "appropriate measures" to protect people against "threats or acts of discrimination".

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Martyn added analysis to:

South West MPs in HS2 support threat

26 February 2014

MPs don't always follow through on threats to vote against government legislation.

Neil Parish, the Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton, who hinted he might oppose HS2 today, also threatened to vote against the Local Government Finance Settlement but ended up falling into line when it came to the vote earlier this month.

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Martyn added analysis to:

Cornwall MP presses Charles on Duchy tax

Defining the status of the Duchy of Cornwall is a tricky business.

Despite the name, it has large landholdings east of the Tamar - including the Oval Cricket Ground in London and a third of Dartmoor - as well as extensive property in Cornwall itself.

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Martyn added analysis to:

Union describes tugboat cuts as 'dangerous'

16 September 2011

The government has made significant concessions on coastguard station closures and the reduction of cover - but it's standing its ground when it comes to the Emergency Towing Vessels.

The Transport Select Committee said cutting funding for ETVs would be "literally inviting disaster".

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Martyn added analysis to:

Devon and Cornwall cross-county constituency proposed

13 September 2011

The Boundary Commission has chosen to cross the Cornwall/Devon border in the shallow upper reaches of the Tamar.

Under the new law on constituency sizes, the Boundary Commission says Cornwall will inevitably have to share an MP with Devon in some way, shape or form.

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Martyn added analysis to:

MPs press minister on Raleigh and Britannia navy bases

2 August 2011

If training were to end at either Raleigh or Dartmouth there would obviously be an outcry in either place.

But it might not be the end of the matter in this game of military musical chairs - with 45 Commando looking for a new home, with a government that wants to bring all the Marines to the South West and a military base potentially going begging.

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Martyn added analysis to:

Falmouth and Brixham coastguards welcome safety report

This report is not talking about a tweak here or there, it is taking issue with pretty much everything the government suggested.

Overall it says that the plans could jeopardise safety and the members of the committee are not confident that the service can be as effective as it is now, let alone more so as the government claims.

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About Martyn

Martyn has worked at the BBC for 10 years.

Born and went to school in Cornwall - working back in the South West for the last 13 years.

Read history at Oxford University.

Started his career in newspapers and worked as Business Editor.

Leads political coverage for BBC news in the South West and presents Sunday Politics.

Covering politics since the early years of the Blair government. Appointed political editor in 2008 and clocked up his first election and prime ministerial interview within a fortnight. Recently interviewed Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband in the same morning; he's now aiming for the hat trick of grilling all three party leaders before lunch.

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