Midlands questions to the 'Prime Minister-in-waiting'

  • 19 September 2017
  • From the section England
Jeremy Corbyn Image copyright PA
Image caption Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn is the next party leader to face Patrick Burns

Let's get real

Autumn always heralds my round of interviews with the main party leaders in the run-up to their respective annual conferences.

Last week it was the turn of the new Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Vince Cable.

And now I am preparing to talk to the Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn before he heads to Brighton.

Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition is always expected to stand ready as a potential alternative government.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jeremy Corbyn emerged from the 2017 general election as a party leader with momentum. But is this real or perception?

Read full article Midlands questions to the 'Prime Minister-in-waiting'

Birmingham bin strike: City sinks under one fine mess on top of another

What a load of rubbish

Bins and rubbish Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption For two months, the abiding images of Birmingham have been not of its achievements, but of the gloomy spectre of rubbish bags piling higher and higher

It's the city of a million people. Its businesses are growing faster than anywhere else in Britain, according to figures just published by the Lloyds Purchasing Managers' Index.

And the government has just chosen it as Britain's nominee to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Read full article Birmingham bin strike: City sinks under one fine mess on top of another

Government could be sent back to school in funding row

  • 3 July 2017
  • From the section England

Back to the classroom

School funding Image copyright calvste
Image caption Some Conservatives believe the government's controversial plans for funding schools was an even bigger issue at street level than the NHS

Even though they won nearly 60 more seats than Labour, Tory MPs are behaving as if they had lost the general election.

I'm told the buzz doing the rounds between them in Westminster's many nooks and corners is all about their "disastrous", "appalling" election campaign and the painful messages they had taken back from the doorsteps of their constituencies.

Read full article Government could be sent back to school in funding row

Midlands Metro Mayor: The word on A Street

  • 27 June 2017
  • From the section England
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Two months on since his mayoral victory, what has Andy Street brought to the role?

"Ask me anything you like"

That's the "no holds barred" invitation from the newly-elected Conservative West Midlands "Metro" Mayor, Andy Street, for a series of public Question and Answer sessions, the first of them in Coventry.

The two months since his victory, by the narrowest of margins, over the Labour candidate Sion Simon MEP, have inevitably been overshadowed by that other great election drama, and by its aftermath.

Read full article Midlands Metro Mayor: The word on A Street

How Midlanders narrowed it down to a hung parliament

  • 14 June 2017
  • From the section England

Electing a hung parliament takes some some doing

For good or ill, our "first past the post" system has a habit of producing disproportionate majorities one way or the other. It's a narrow statistical window through which the results must pass to end up with neither fish nor fowl. Supporters of the status quo argue that whatever its undoubted faults, it does at least usually produce stable governments.

So how have we managed to defy this logic in two of the last three general elections, especially since Theresa May was luxuriating in 20%-plus opinion poll leads less than two months ago when she called the election?

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption You are luxuriating one minute and the next, the Midlands has its say

Read full article How Midlanders narrowed it down to a hung parliament

GE2017: Why so little changed so much

  • 9 June 2017
  • From the section England
Jeremy Corbyn Image copyright Getty Images

It's certainly been an epic drama.

And yet the net effect here in the Midlands, with its famous clusters of 'marginal' seats is that the Conservatives have one more seat than they did before and Labour have one fewer.

Read full article GE2017: Why so little changed so much

Why the Midlands mean so much in general election week

  • 5 June 2017
  • From the section England
Erdington
Image caption The Conservatives have been fighting hard to take the seat of Erdington, in the north of Birmingham

The tenth general election I have covered for the BBC was always going to be one of a kind.

Weeks of speculation came and went. The very idea of an early election was emphatically dismissed. In the event, it came out of the blue just when the engine room of local politics was fully-engaged with the mayoral and county council elections.

Read full article Why the Midlands mean so much in general election week

Keeping on track towards polling day on 8 June

  • 19 May 2017
  • From the section England
New Street tram

One of the most striking new features of our changing urban landscape has to be the glistening tram tracks snaking their way through our towns and cities.

And as regional devolution gathers pace like one of those shocking pink Midlands Metros, we know there will be plenty more, criss-crossing our West Midlands conurbation.

Read full article Keeping on track towards polling day on 8 June

Who'll call the tune in June if the Midlands swings?

  • 25 April 2017
  • From the section England
Dudley castle Image copyright Dudley Council
Image caption Dudley North: Where Labour could be vulnerable

"It ain't got a thing if it ain't got that swing."

That's what the old song says.

Read full article Who'll call the tune in June if the Midlands swings?

Knife-edge battle for West Midlands metro mayor?

West Midlands map Image copyright Getty Images

The first 'metro mayor' of the West Midlands will lead a population of nearly three million people across Coventry, Birmingham and the Black Country.

They will have powers over Economic Development, Education and Skills, Housing and Transport to be downloaded from Central Government and emphatically not uploaded from local authorities.

Read full article Knife-edge battle for West Midlands metro mayor?