'It's a high-speed high-risk strategy'

  • 15 July 2019
  • From the section England
Alstom's proposed design for a HS2 train Image copyright Alstom
Image caption The first passengers are expected to travel on HS2 trains between Birmingham and London in late 2026

It was one of those routine stumbles in the crucible that is the Sunday Politics Midlands studio. Normally I'd do my best to shrug it off.

I had mangled my words during an interview about high-speed rail after Jeremy Hunt, in Worcestershire on the first day of his regional leadership campaign, had told us he was "a supporter, a very strong supporter, of HS2... because whoever becomes prime minister must govern for the country as a whole".

Given that the 165,000 or so Conservative Party members who are deciding this election include so many in counties like Warwickshire and Staffordshire which are set to experience so more of the "pain" than the "gain", I had intended to describe the self-professed underdog's pronouncement as simply "a high-risk strategy".

And yet the accidental addition of "high-speed" had fortuitously produced something quite appropriate!

Jeremy Hunt also pointed out, in that Friday morning interview at a factory just outside Kidderminster, that his opponent "wants to scrap HS2".

Read full article 'It's a high-speed high-risk strategy'

Why summer is no holiday for low income families

  • 10 July 2019
  • From the section England
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Recently collated data shows almost half of children in Stoke-on-Trent are living in poverty

School's Out For Summer

We all know the first line of the Alice Cooper Band's barnstorming hit, no matter whether or not we were around when it first came out back in 1972.

Less well-remembered is the second line:

Read full article Why summer is no holiday for low income families

Brexit Party in the Midlands: Now with added policies

  • 1 July 2019
  • From the section England
Image caption The Brexit Party added literal fireworks, glow sticks and then policies, but where were the prospective candidates?

Expect fireworks!

It's just one of those things we say in the run-up to potentially lively political events or "crunch meetings". We don't usually mean it literally.

But when the Brexit Party came to Birmingham, promising an audience of 5,000 to witness the unveiling of more than 100 candidates for a possible "snap" autumn general election, that's exactly what we got.

Read full article Brexit Party in the Midlands: Now with added policies

In the Hunt: Midlands backing for underdog candidate

  • 25 June 2019
  • From the section England
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Conservative leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt has support from several Worcestershire MPs

"I'll give him the fight of his life"

The self-proclaimed "underdog" wasn't pulling his punches when he opened his regional campaign for the Conservative leadership in Worcestershire.

And Jeremy Hunt does not lack for influential support in this part of the country.

Read full article In the Hunt: Midlands backing for underdog candidate

Midlands at the centre of new political battlefield

  • 17 June 2019
  • From the section England

"They think it's all over...."

Even before the Conservative leadership contest reaches its month-long extravaganza of hustings culminating in the party members' vote, there is such an air of inevitability about the outcome that I hear echoing in my mind the words of the late, great, football commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme, just moments before Geoff Hurst leathered-home his third, and England's fourth, against West Germany in the 1966 World Cup Final at Wembley: "It is now!"

And already thoughts are turning towards the new political battlefield which could take shape under a Boris Johnson government. And not for the first time, our part of the country is set to find itself in the centre of it all.

Read full article Midlands at the centre of new political battlefield

Will Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid be our next PM?

  • 5 June 2019
  • From the section England
Image copyright Twitter/@sajidjavid

Surprise surprise!

It was the tweet that everyone had been expecting. It is certainly not for me or anyone else in my line of business to express any preferences for any of the Tory leadership candidates over any of the others.

This contest revolves around the innermost machinations of the Conservative Party. But we do have an obvious interest when someone based in our part of the country is bidding for the highest political office in the land.

Read full article Will Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid be our next PM?

Hands up who wants to vote for the European Parliament?

  • 7 May 2019
  • From the section England
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The possibility the UK may remain in the EU for only a short time after the elections makes no difference

Bowing to the inevitable

It was the Government's acknowledgement earlier this month that Parliament would not have agreed the withdrawal deal before this Thursday that confirmed the inevitable. For good or ill, polling will indeed have to go ahead in order to validate the new Parliament for the EU as a whole.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A British tradition means elections in the UK are normally held on Thursdays

So, deep breath, here's how it works...

Read full article Hands up who wants to vote for the European Parliament?

Local elections to put parties and voters to the test

  • 25 April 2019
  • From the section England
Image copyright PA
Image caption Anyone remember this? Samantha and David Cameron outside Number 10 a day after the 2015 general election victory

Who remembers 2015?

In the helter-skelter, highly-charged world of politics, so much has happened since David Cameron's Conservative general election victory that 2015 seems more like ancient history than just four years ago.

Read full article Local elections to put parties and voters to the test

Brexit puts a new twist on 'vote early and vote often'

  • 3 April 2019
  • From the section England
Image caption Talks between May and Corbyn: Game-changer or another dead-end?

Politics, politics and yet more politics

It's not always easy being a political editor!

Time and time again, people come up to me to tell me how sick and tired they are of politics. "But what else do you expect me to do?" is my unspoken reply. And by the way, why are people watching our political programmes in such numbers if they're sick and tired of the subject?

Read full article Brexit puts a new twist on 'vote early and vote often'

Brexit deepens divisions and heightens distrust

  • 19 March 2019
  • From the section England
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Frustration at the role of Parliament is not confined to those waving placards and shouting the odds outside the Palace of Westminster

Commons Dysfunction

"This goes beyond Brexit now. This is about our democracy and a Parliament that can't function."

So said one of the protesters on the famous green just across the road from Parliament, while I was getting plugged-up for yet another live "hit" into Midlands Today.

Read full article Brexit deepens divisions and heightens distrust