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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).

Why Comrade Eric Pickles keeps a photo of Ché Guevara in his office

All was explained in his speech to the party conference. Am I imagining things or was he having a sly dig at the lefty Lib Dems? Mr Pickles said:

In my Ministerial office, I've placed reminders of what it means to be a Conservative.

A bust of Disraeli.

A poster of the great Winston.

A momento of the magnificent Margaret.

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Extra £200 million for R&D fund benefiting Warwick University, Jaguar Land Rover & Birmingham University

George Osborne's speech in Birmingham today will be remembered for his announcement that the Government is pressing ahead with £10 billion cuts to welfare, but it also contains news of an extra £200 million to support the nation's top research and development businesses, including Jaguar Land Rover.

The Chancellor will announce an extra £200 million of Government funding for the Research Partnership Investment Fund, which supports university capital projects. The Fund was launched at Budget 2012, with £100 million of funding but has been heavily oversubscribed with an overwhelming number of high-calibre bids.

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Conservative party conference announcements - 2% council tax cap, £140 nursing fund, crackdown on taxpayer-funded union staff, new powers to stop travellers

Here are some of the announcements that have emerged so far at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham:

  • Provide £270 million funding so that councils can freeze council tax for a third consecutive year. This would be a 2.5 per cent real terms cut in 2013-13, and an 11 per cent cut over three years. Require a referendum for any council planing an increase above two per cent in 2013-14.
  • Cap rail fares at RPI+1 per cent in 2013 and 2014, costing £300 million over the next two financial years (2013-14 and 2014-15).

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How spin doctors work - don't explain why Andrew Mitchell isn't here

A lesson in spin-doctory: a Conservative Party briefing note aimed at Tory press officers and politicians at the party conference in the ICC contains a list of "hostile questions" they may be asked by the media, as well as the preferred answers.

Here's an extract:

Q: Does the Prime Minister have full confidence in Andrew Mitchell?

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Highlights of Ed Miliband's speech to the Labour conference

Here are some of the highlights of Ed Miliband's speech to the Labour conference today:

My story

My conviction is rooted in my family's story, a story that starts 1,000 miles from here, because the Miliband's haven't sat under the same oak tree for the last five hundred years.

Both of my parents' came to Britain as immigrants, Jewish refugees from the Nazis. I know I would not be standing on this stage today without the compassion and tolerance of our great country. Great Britain.

And you know my parents saw Britain rebuilt after the Second World War. I was born in my local NHS hospital, the same hospital my two sons would later be born in. As you saw in the film I went to my local school. I went to my local comprehensive with people from all backgrounds. I still remember the amazing and inspiring teaching I got at that school, and one of my teachers, my English teacher, Chris Dunne, is here with us today. Thank you Chris and to all the teachers at Haverstock.

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Liam Byrne hints benefits cap would be lower under Labour

Birmingham MP Liam Byrne (Lab Hodge Hill), Labour's Shadow Work and Pensions secretary, has been attacking Government plans for a benefit cap.

From April 2013, nobody will be able to claim more than £350 a week from Jobseeker's Allowance, Housing Benefit, Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit if they are single and childless, or £500 a week if they are a single parent. The cap for couples will be £500 between them.

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Labour MP Steve McCabe: We must not go into coalition with Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrats seem to be struggling to win support at the moment - opinion polls suggest 10 per cent of voters back them, down from the 23 per cent of the vote they received at the General Election.

But they could still be in Government next time, if neither the Tories nor Labour succeed in winning a majority at the next election.

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Government could take control of West Coast Main Line, suggests Labour

The on-going row over who should run the West Coast Main Line could be resolved with the service being taken back into public management, Labour has suggested.

Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle said she would back the Government if it decided to take the radical step.

It follows the decision of the last Labour Government to take the East Coast Main Line, running from London to Newcastle, into public control when the franchise holder, National Express, pulled out.

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Labour would cut too, warns Ed Balls

Labour will continue making "difficult decisions" on spending, public sector pay and pensions if it wins the next election, Ed Balls has warned.

The Shadow Chancellor dropped heavy hints that there would be more cuts under Labour, as he spoke at the party's annual conference in Manchester.

He said he could not promise to reverse any specific cut introduced by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition, because he could not predict what the state of the public finances would be.

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Ed Balls leaps to Caroline Spelman's defence

Valiant Ed Balls leapt to the defence of Meriden MP Caroline Spelman (Con), after she was sacked from David Cameron's cabinet - and apparently told she was too old.

Downing Street has denied reports Mrs Spelman, aged 54, was told she was losing her job as Environment Secretary because of her age. She was replaced by North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson, aged 56.

But the report was seized on by Mr Balls, the Shadow Chancellor, who contrasted Mr Cameron's treatment of Mrs Spelman with the Prime Minister's support for Andrew Mitchell, the Shadow Chancellor.

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Ed Miliband calls for party unity, warns against civil war , says Labour lost our marbles in 1980s

Ed Miliband has urged Labour to remain united in a series of receptions with MPs, councillors and activists from each region.

He warned that Labour had "lost our marbles" last time it was in opposition.

The Labour leader made appearances at regional receptions in meeting rooms throughout the Manchester Central conference venue on Sunday night.

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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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