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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).

Every party should back reforms to fight election fraud and end banana republics

At long last, serious attempts are being made to cut fraud at the ballot box.

It's a pity that Labour can't bring itself to support these long-awaited changes - even though it was cheating by Labour candidates which demonstrated that they were needed.

You might think that Britain doesn't have a problem with electoral fraud. Sadly, that's not true, as we discovered in 2005 when an electoral court ruled there had been widespread fraud in Birmingham, Britain's largest local authority.

Postmen were intimidated into handing over sacks full of postal votes. Ballot papers were changed once votes had been cast, unbeknownst to voters, using correction fluid. And police discovered six men in a warehouse with 274 unsealed postal votes.

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Phone hacking campaigner Tom Watson wins Shadow Cabinet role in Ed Miliband's team

Campaigning West Midland MP Tom Watson has been rewarded with a job in Labour leader Ed Miliband's top team following his battle to expose phone hacking by some newspapers.

Mr Watson (Lab West Bromwich East) joins the Shadow Cabinet as Labour's campaign co-ordinator and deputy party chair.

The high-profile MP has been widely praised after helping to reveal that journalists on the News of the World tabloid hacked the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

His role now will be to shake up Labour's campaigns across the country, and to improve the way it uses the Internet to communicate with voters.

Mr Watson has experience of fighting and winning elections for Labour, after overseeing a series of by-elections, including the Birmingham Hodge Hill by-election campaign which saw Liam Byrne elected for Labour in 2004.

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David Cameron did make a u-turn over credit card bills

I don't think I believe the official explanation for David Cameron's last-minute change to his conference speech.

There are two competing explanations for what went wrong.

According to one version of events, he originally planned to exhort the British people to pay off their credit card and store card debts.

This section of the speech was briefed to the media on Tuesday night, to appear in Wednesday's papers, a few hours before Mr Cameron was due to take to the stage in Manchester.

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Labour conference: At last, Ed Miliband will tell us why he should be Prime Minister

The theme of Labour's annual conference in Liverpool this coming week will be "responsibility", as Ed Miliband begins trying to explain why he should become Prime Minister.

Miliband has looked impressive recently, speaking out against phone hacking and calling for an inquiry into the riots - a demand the Coalition more or less acceded to.

What he still hasn't done is set out why he's a potential prime minister, rather than just a decent fellow.

This is partly a deliberate decision. Upon becoming leader 12 months ago, he ordered Liam Byrne, Labour's Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, to undertake a thorough policy review.

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Liberal Democrats sing about the joys of coalition

I had a great time at the Lib Dem singalong on Tuesday night during the party conference. Birmingham Yardley MP John Hemming was on the keyboards and highlights included this ditty about life in a coalition:

On the fourth day of coalition

The Tories gave to me,

A very small amount,

Sweet FA,

Absolutely zilch,

And a referendum on AV

And so on . . .

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Lib Dems consider clash with Birmingham over tough response to looters

Paul Tilsley, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council and leader of the city's Lib Dem group, is busy representing Birmingham at various receptions and fringe events during the party's annual conference at the ICC.

But Lib Dem delegates are heading for a collision course with one of his Tory colleagues, Councillor John Lines, the city council's Cabinet Member for Housing.

Coun Lines is determined to make looters who ransacked properties in Birmingham last month pay a hefty price - by evicting them.

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Nick Clegg promises new deal for Britain's great cities

This is a longer version of our interview with Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader and Deputy Prime Minister, published in today's Birmingham Mail in advance of the Lib Dem conference, which begins on Saturday:

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has promised a "new deal" for Britain's major cities with Birmingham in the lead, to cut unemployment and place them on a more equal footing with London.

The Liberal Democrat leader was speaking to The Birmingham Mail as he prepared for his party's annual conference, beginning this Saturday in Birmingham's International Convention Centre.

Mr Clegg said the days when the nation depended on "the fat cats of the city of London" to keep the economy moving had ended for good.

Instead, he had ordered Cabinet colleagues to make sure the great regional cities were involved in key Government decisions.

And he revealed that Ministers planned to negotiate contracts with the core cities so it was clear what central government should be doing to help them thrive.

In July, the Government appointed MP Greg Clark as Minister for the Cities, reporting to a panel chaired by Mr Clegg which also includes Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles and Business Secretary Vince Cable.

Mr Clegg told The Birmingham Mail: "Greg Clark will now go and have a number of separate discussions with all the individual cities including Birmingham so that we can as a Government decide on the contracts or deals which should exist between central government and each individual city.

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Send looters to boot camp, say residents

Rioters should be sent to boot camps instead of prison - perhaps run by army staff fresh from Afghanistan.

That's once of the messages from residents in the Birmingham constituency of Hodge Hill according to their MP, Liam Byrne (Lab), who has published the findings of his survey of local opinion.

He said:

People want very tough punishment for offenders - 'tougher and clearer'. Residents said they wanted the court to throw the book at offenders - but lots said they didn't think prison was the answer.

Instead boot camps to instill some back-bone and discipline into youngsters. Some wanted a return for National Service. Others suggested camps should be run by returning troops. Others wanted high profile community payback.

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Lib Dem president complains that being in government is distressing

Being in Government "has led to a loss of identity and in turn a loss of support", according to the President of the Liberal Democrats.

MP Tim Farron suggests the past 19 months have been a miserable time - "particularly distressing", as he puts it - for the party.

He said: "Clearly we have not succeeded in communicating our message, which has led to a loss of identity and in turn a loss of support."

The message appears in the directory of the Lib Dem conference, taking place in Birmingham later this month. It's an official party document which will be handed out to delegates at Birmingham's ICC.

I was struck by how downbeat and unhappy he appeared to be.

Here's an extended extract:

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Horrific timeline of events as West Midlands Police struggled to cope with riots in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Coventry and West Bromwich

Chris Sims, the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, has delivered a report on the riots in Birmingham last month to the Police Authority. It is, as he understandably stresses, an interim report as the force's inquiry into what happened and its own response is continuing.

It makes fascinating reading and includes a timeline of events, from the police's point of view of course, which is fairly terrifying. I hadn't realised quite how much violence was directed at the police and how widespread it was.

Police were attacked by gangs with baseball bats, had their cars rammed, and were apparently shot at. The full timeline is in the report. This is an edited summary:

Monday August 8 - early morning Tuesday 9

15:33 - Potential for possible disorder acknowledged by West Midlands Police (WMP) and policing response outlined.
18:30 - Decision taken to authorise Force mobilisation, Police Support Units (PSUs - a unit of officers trained in dealing with public disorder) available taking total to 10
19:00 - Reports of disorder at various locations around Birmingham city centre.

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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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