Category: Home Affairs

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Child sacrifices: who is responsible?

Nicola Freeman

Downing Street has responded to the death of little Arthur Labinjo-Hughes with the usual, “we will do all it takes to find out what happened and make changes to the system”. Yet more blah blah. This is fast becoming the response to most of what the government says about anything that affects the lives of […]

“Hostile environment brought to our doorsteps”: no to Hassockfield event today

Yvonne Wancke

Vulnerable women who are seeking sanctuary should be helped and supported, not locked up. In Consett today there is a demonstration against the opening of Derwentside (Hassockfield) Immigration Removal Centre (IRC). This demonstration is being organised by Durham People’s Assembly, No to Hassockfield and Abolish Detention. They also have support from many individuals and organisations […]

Power cuts in Weardale: elected members inaccessible and unaccountable

Owain Gardner

On the night of Friday 26 November, only last Friday, everything seemed normal. That was until everyone in Weardale (from Witton-le-Wear to Killhope and Cowshill) lost their access to electricity due to Storm Arwen. Electricity lines up and down dale had trees falling onto them, with some, as was suggested on BBC Look North and […]

No-one should have to rely on foodbanks

Stephen Lambert

The independent economics think tank, the Resolution Foundation, points out the cost of living both in the North-East and elsewhere in the country continues to rise. In Newcastle 41% of children are growing up in poverty. This is up by 13% since 2014/15 with thousands of residents, many in work on poverty pay, relying on […]

The poverty cake

Nicola Freeman

“Let them eat cake” are words that symbolise the huge discrepancy between the haves and have-nots that have come to represent the triggering of revolution. Sadly, in our current society poverty itself has become the symbolic cake, sliced up and served to well-meaning people who become justifiably enraged and motivated to help. There are groups […]

Is levelling up a slogan or a policy?

Sally Young

In the last few months we have kept hearing about this government’s promise of levelling up. Is this a slogan or a policy? Let’s look at what is really happening. In all honesty, I’ve never been particularly impressed by the idea of HS2. £100 billion would have been better spent by giving the UK’s top […]

Don’t forget the birds: a new film about leaving prison in Durham

Carol Westall

A new film, Don’t forget the birds will be released online as part of a collection of Open Clasp’s work to mark the UN’s 16 days of activism to eliminate violence. against women and girls. It will be available  25 November – 10 December. Don’t forget the birds tells the story of what happened after […]

Fear and desperation: we all need a way to help

James Sheerin

I was surprised to find a teenage African young man crouched in the storage space under the bed in our motorhome on Friday evening. I was probably more surprised by the effect the encounter has had on my wife Janet and myself, and by the emotions we felt, brought on by our feeling of hopelessness […]

Teesside Stagecoach strikes suspended as members ballot on new pay offer

North East Bylines

Strikes by bus workers employed by Stagecoach on Teesside have been suspended following an improved pay offer. The strikes scheduled for Thursday 18 November, Saturday 20 November and Monday 22 November have all been called off to allow members to ballot on the improved pay offer. Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is a potential breakthrough in the dispute. […]

Standards, sewage and sleaze in the House of Commons

Richard Henson

Water, water, everywhere… (but no PM and not a drop to swim in?) Tories 283, Opposition 163. Blink and you missed it! So what did happen yesterday? It all started with a video from DEFRA, a report from ENDS, both discussed in an appearance of Fergal Sharkey on Good Morning Britain, and a critique on […]

Boris Johnson avoids difficult debate by visiting Hexham hospital

Yvonne Wancke

Protestors from North East for Europe waited at Hexham General Hospital to greet Boris Johnson today. Kim Sanderson, spokesperson for North East for Europe said: “We are here to meet the Prime Minister to voice our concerns over corruption in the Conservative party at national and County Council levels.” “We also want to show our […]

Barred from justice: vulnerable EU citizens were locked out of system says new report

North East Bylines

Three vulnerable EU citizens living in the UK were locked out of accessing the justice system to challenge deportation orders because of conflicting government procedures and lengthy delays. These are the findings of a Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) investigation published today. A law centre charity that provides legal representation for people who have […]

Michael Gove’s extraordinary tale of Teesside at the Tory Party Conference

Scott Hunter

Are those beer goggles you’re wearing, Mr Gove? Michael Gove visited the site of the South Tees Development Corporation in late September. When he spoke of that experience at the to the party faithful on Monday, many may have been enthralled by what he had to say. Many on Teesside, meanwhile, were left absolutely speechless.  […]

National Insurance increases: ‘levelling up’ for the North East?

Yvonne Wancke

This week the government voted to increase National Insurance contributions in order to fund social care. National Insurance contributions are set to rise by 1.25 percentage points. Whilst initially this may not seem a lot, it is worth noting that for anyone earning between £10,000 and £50,000 a year, it actually means an increase of […]

‘Keep the lifeline’ of £20 UC increase urge Kenton councillors

Stephen Lambert

The UK government should retain the £20 increase to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit, which has been a lifeline to thousands of households across the city for people struggling to afford the essentials. Charities, health care professionals, foodbanks and councillors across the city are backing the Keep the lifeline campaign and are calling on […]

Hartlepool: nuclear waste and a council civil war 

Julia Mazza

August is the silly month, with the press scrabbling for copy to fill column inches left empty by the political recess. It is the perfect season for Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, sultan of spin, to create a “secret radioactive waste dump” conspiracy theory. In eleven August days, he accused Hartlepool Labour Group, smeared a local charity, ousted […]

North East HistoryPART 1

Dangerous jobs in the North East coal mines, 1800-1850

Audrey Marshall

Without coal, Britain’s Industrial Revolution would have been impossible, The steam engine could not have operated without it; the iron industry demanded it. Coal was in fact at the very heart of the Industrial Revolution. In this North East History series, Audrey Marshall takes a look at the issues of safety and eventual legislation for […]

Women’s detention centre: monthly protests

North East Bylines

A coalition of local people and campaign groups from across the country will protest against the proposed detention centre in Consett, County Durham, on Saturday 21 August. This will be the third demonstration organised at the site and the first of regular demonstrations happening on the third Saturday of every month.  Inhumane practice of indefinite […]

Durham Miners’ Gala: Little Big Meetings and the truth about Thatcher

Julie Ward
Durham miners banner

Boris Johnson’s crass comments praising Margaret Thatcher for closing the pits in the 1980s and wrongly attributing her with green credentials have been roundly condemned by leading figures connected to the Durham Miners’ Gala. It is the second year running that Gala organisers have reluctantly taken the decision to cancel the iconic ‘Big Meeting’ due […]

Sharon Hodgson, MP urges veterans to have their say

North East Bylines

Today former Shadow Minister for Veterans, Sharon Hodgson MP, is urging local veterans across the North East to participate in the Labour Party’s consultation with veterans. They are being encouraged to participate in a survey so that their voices can be heard. As Shadow Minister for Veterans, Sharon developed the consultation, which will help the […]


14 dead and nothing said: Uprising review

Ade JBones Van Vliet

Early in the morning of 18 January 1981, flames tore through a three floored combined house party at 439 New Cross Road, South London. 13 young black people lost their lives directly through the fire and the toll rose to 14, when a further party attendee tragically committed suicide, two years later.  Within six weeks […]

Just who are “The People” and who represents them?

Gareth Kearns

Last Wednesday, 21 July 2021, as I Joined with the SODEM team at the regular PMQs protest outside parliament, I was told in unequivocal terms by a Covid-denier that I didn’t represent “The People”. Just what I am to make of that? I’m sorry, “The People”, but I have never made any claim to represent […]


North East coalition urges Chancellor to reverse £20 UC cut

North East Bylines

A broad, cross-sector coalition of North East organisations has come together today (21 July 2021) to urge the Chancellor of the Exchequer to reverse the planned £20 a week cut to Universal Credit which will hit hundreds of thousands of low-income households across the region this autumn. Writing jointly to the Chancellor as organisations “committed […]