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I am an experienced online journalist and political editor working for Trinity Mirror papers in the West Midlands and the North East, based in the Parliamentary Press Gallery at Westminster.

I understand how government, Parliament and political parties work. I am equally at home digging out stories from data, social media or interviews as I am covering major set-piece events or explaining how things work to readers.

I produce content which is shareable and promote my work on social media.

My experience with content management systems and knowledge of HTML allows me to include charts, embedded content from third parties and formatting in my work, to create content which encourages interaction and keeps readers on the page.

Contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (but please send press releases to my work email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as this is the email I monitor during working hours).

Industrial revolution began in Manchester, says Obama

President Obama has delivered a moving speech to Parliament, addressing both the Commons and the Lords gathered together in Westminster Hall.

He hasn't always been portrayed as a friend of the United Kingdom, so I thought it was interesting that he chose to portray America's commitment to democracy and civil rights as a continuation of a political tradition which began in England and Britain.

It's hardly a new idea, but it contrasts sharply with an alternative view of the United States as something new and unique in the history of the world.

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The Electoral Commission's Alternative Vote cartoon is misleading

The Electoral Commission is an independent body set up by the UK Parliament which has responsibility for the conduct and regulation of next month's referendum on moving to an AV voting system.

It's sent out a press release explaining the work it's been doing, including "reaching out to voters through social media" with a four-minute cartoon called "Victor the Vote Counter" on YouTube.

But is the cartoon really impartial? Here it is:

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AV campaign turns nasty: if in doubt, just call your opponent racist

The battle over Britain's voting system really is turning nasty.

I love the "Yes" campaign's response to reports that they removed black Birmingham poet Benjamin Zephaniah's image from leaflets distributed outside London.

PA reports that a Yes campaign spokesman said: "These allegations mark a new low for the 'No' campaign and their increasingly desperate smears.

"Let's put it this way. Operation Black Vote, the Muslim Council of Britain and a host of similar groups are backing the 'Yes' campaign. The BNP are backing the 'No' campaign. People can draw their own conclusions."

So the "No" campaigners are engaging in desperate smears, and by the way they're also a bunch of evil racists. Let's be grateful the "Yes" campaign haven't sunk to their level . . .

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MP Roger Godsiff: Why I Voted 'No' to the 'no fly zone' over Libya

Only 13 MPs voted against the decision to deploy military forces in Libya, when the Commons debated the crisis earlier this week.

They included Roger Godsiff (Lab Hall Green), who was the only West Midlands MP to vote against the Government. David Winnick (Lab Walsall North) also opposes the Libyan intervention, but abstained in the vote.

I've previously written about Mr Godsiff's reasons for voting as he did, based on a telephone conversation with him.

He's now issued a detailed statement explaining "Why I Voted 'No' to the 'no fly zone' over Libya" in his own words.

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Which MPs had their phones hacked?

Police have apparently told eight MPs they may have had their mobile phones hacked by journalists.

What we don't know yet is who these MPs are. Black Country MP Tom Watson (Lab West Bromwich East) asked the question, but Ministers are currently refusing to give details.

The suggestion that up to eight MPs were victims of hacking was made by Labour backbencher Chris Bryant, as he delivered a speech on phone hacking by journalists at the News of the World.

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Business leaders back Prince Andrew - that UKTI statement in full

UKTI, the official body responsible for promoting British industry overseas, has issued a press release containing a series of endorsements from senior figures in major businesses saying what a good job the Duke of York does.

This is a government statement, as UKTI is an arm of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. It was managed for a time by Digby Jones, former head of the CBI, when he was a trade minister in Gordon Brown's government in 2007-08.

The quotes are not new - some are up to three years old. But they've been sent out again in response to criticism of Prince Andrew's role. For example, Black Country MP Adrian Bailey (Lab West Bromwich West), chairman of the Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, has questioned whether Prince Andrew could carry on, saying: "Prince Andrew is a volunteer and his efforts for British business have been well regarded in the past. But the current controversy makes his role more difficult."

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Eric Pickles tells councils to let bloggers into meetings

The Government continues to promote bloggers and hyperlocal news-sites with a missive from Eric Pickles, the Local Government Secretary, urging councils to ensure they are given full access to council meetings.

A letter sent to councils says bloggers should have the same routine access to meetings as traditional journalists.

In the past, the Government has encouraged bloggers to scrutinise town hall spending. Ministers have ordered authorities to publish every item of expenditure above £500, and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles hopes bloggers will plough through the information and highlight inefficiencies or abuses.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has issued a press release about allowing bloggers access to meetings, which I reprint below:

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Sandwell's Building Schools for the Future case: what the judge said

Six councils including the Black Country borough of Sandwell have won a High Court challenge over the Government's decision to scrap Building Schools for the Future projects in their areas.

Mr Justice Holman ordered Education Secretary Michael Gove to reconsider the decision "with an open mind", but made a point of saying the final decision still rested with Mr Gove.

Some media coverage is highlighting the judge's comment that Mr Gove's failure to consult councils before announcing the cancellation decision last year was "so unfair as to amount to an abuse of power". However, this comment applies to all the councils except for Sandwell.

Here are some key extracts from the judgment, and at the bottom is a link to the full document:

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The Lib Dem councillors who attacked Government spending cuts

Can Liberal Democrat councillors really get away with warning that government spending cuts will damage the economy and hurt the most vulnerable people in our communities - as if the policy was nothing to do with them?

You can certainly continue to be an active member of a party if you disagree with some of its policies. Nobody expects every party member to agree with every single thing the leadership says.

But the need to significantly cut public spending quickly is currently the single most significant policy that Lib Dems hold, it seems to me. And Nick Clegg has repeatedly made it clear that it is Lib Dem policy - not just a Tory policy they are forced to go along with.

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About me

Jonathan Walker Political Editor of the Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail, Sunday Mercury, Coventry Telegraph, Newcastle Journal, Newcastle Chronicle and Sunday Sun.

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