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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).

Commons approves Birmingham's mayor referendum despite Labour opposition

The order which forces Birmingham to hold a referendum on creating a directly elected mayor was approved by the House of Commons today - although it was formally opposed by the Labour Party.

Shadow local government minister Chris Williamson demanded a division and then voted against the measure, which obliged the city to hold a referendum on May 3.

The order was discussed at a Commons delegated legislation committee, which is a Commons committee set up to consider detailed changes to the law which do not require an Act of Parliament. The general power to force cities to hold referendums is contained in the Localism Act, which became law last year, and the Government has drawn up orders for each city which are now being considered in committees, one at a time.

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MP Jack Dromey's apology in full

Birmingham Erdington MP Jack Dromey has this afternoon apologised to the House of Commons for failing immediately to declare payments of £57,000 from trade union Unite.

This was his statement: "Mr Speaker, I would like to make an apology to the House.

"A report has been published by the Standards and Privileges Committee following an investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

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Ed Balls (almost) backs Sion Simon for Mayor of Birmingham

Labour's Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls was in town this weekend and came very, very close to endorsing Sion Simon's bid to become Birmingham's first directly-elected mayor.

Mr Simon, the former MP for Birmingham Erdington, is up against Gisela Stuart, sitting MP for Birmingham Edgbaston, and Sir Albert Bore, leader of the Labour group on the city council, for the party's nomination.

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Aidan Burley: I am sorry, I am ashamed, but I am not a Nazi

Staffordshire MP Aidan Burley (Con Cannock Chase), who attended a Nazi-themed stag do in France, has issued a fulsome apology on his personal website.

He said: "I am deeply sorry, and want to take this opportunity to offer the people of Cannock Chase an unreserved, wholehearted and full apology for the terrible offence this incident has undoubtedly caused . . . I feel ashamed that Cannock Chase has been placed in the limelight as a result of my behaviour."

He also added: "Being involved in a fancy dress party does not mean you endorse, tacitly or explicitly, the actions and philosophy of the person that is being impersonated. In fact, quite the opposite is true. I have no sympathies whatsoever with Nazism, racism, or fascism."

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The Children's Society is wrong about the rioters - they were just as greedy and selfish as anyone else

The Children's Society has published the results of a survey which found most 13 to 17 year olds and adults believed the main reason for the summer riots was that rioters wanted "to get goods and possessions they couldn't afford to buy".

According to the Children's Society, this proves that Theresa May, the Home Secretary, was wrong to claim that the riots were about "instant gratification".

Instead, according to the Children's Society, it proves that "poverty" was one of the key causes of the riots.

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How many troubled families live in your area? See the full list here

David Cameron was in Oldbury, in the Black Country, launching a new project "to radically transform the lives of the country's most troubled families" today.

Almost £450 million will be spent trying to help 120,000 "troubled families" through measures such as the creation of "a national network of Troubled Family 'Trouble-Shooters' who will be appointed by local councils", according to a statement issued by the government.

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Clegg says cities need strong leaders but they don't have to be mayors

Officials working for Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, have contacted me to correct a story which appeared in today's Birmingham Post and on our website about the Government offering more powers to cities if they choose to have a mayor.

I believe our story accurately reflects what we were told by a Government Minister yesterday - and Government policy as set out in a new document published today.

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Guardian-reading lefties take over the Conservative Party

Did you know the Conservative Party has been infiltrated by Guardian-reading liberals?

It has, according to Shropshire MP Daniel Kawczynski (Con Shrewsbury and Atcham), who said he was dismayed to discover that so many of his colleagues were members of the liberal elite when he tried to discuss Saudi Arabia with them.

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Why do Thatcher, Blair, Major and Brown still claim hundreds of thousands in expenses?

An MP is demanding to know why taxpayers have forked out hundreds of thousands of pounds to former Prime Ministers via a little-known grant.

Tony Blair has received £272,888 since quitting as Prime Minister, while Gordon Brown has received £83,718.

Lady Thatcher received £529,100 over the past five years, while John Major received £490,921.

In Mr Brown's case, the cash comes on top of the £29,963.91 he has claimed in MP's expenses since quitting Downing Street last May.

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Budding bloggers and journalists invited to enter Commons competition

Young people have been invited to enter a prestigious writing competition backed by the Birmingham Post & Mail, giving them a chance to visit Parliament and meet top politicians and journalists.

The contest is organised by the Parliamentary Press Gallery, which includes journalists from leading regional and national newspapers as well as broadcasters and political bloggers.

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Beauty, the cat cat-napped by MP John Hemming's wife, is found alive and well

Fantastic news - MP John Hemming has reported that Beauty the cat has been found alive and well, and appears to have been living happily in Sparkhill for the past year.

As you may know, Beauty was stolen by Mr Hemming's wife, Christine Hemming, from the home of his long-term girlfriend Emily Cox.

Mrs Hemming (Lib Dem Yardley), who received a nine-month suspended prison sentence for the theft, has insisted that she did attempt to return the cat by pushing it under a fence near Ms Cox's home. However, Beauty never did make her way home, and her fate has been a mystery since the theft last September.

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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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