A week in North East politics

A week is indeed a long time in North East politics. Here we recap the stories you might have missed, and look to the week ahead for a guide to the political stories still to come

Lord Howell
Lord Howell

The week that was...

Howelling Maddness

Lord Howell brought a smile to our face as we headed into the traditionally news quiet August.

The Tory peer, George Osborne's father-in-law, said the North East was desolate, so obviously better suited for fracking than, oh, say, the South?

Turns out he meant Lancashire, but by then the damage was done.

Dad's (fire) Army

Tyne and Wear fire chiefs have come up with a novel way of preparing for strike action at a time of public sector spending cuts; they are to re-recruite retired firemen. Could be worse, in Teesside they're just asking the public to get involved.

Wriggling his way to the Lords

...Was former Port of Tyne chairman Sir Ian Wrigglesworth. The Lib Dem's move to the House of Lords has been Tyneside's unspoken secret for most of the year. But with parliament in recess he'll have to wait a little longer before taking his seat.

Still no peerage for Stephen Byers though.

Who's up, who wishes they were up

Good Week - Vera Baird

Police Commissioner Vera Baird,
 

A good few weeks for the Police Commissioner as she sees her efforts to tackle predatory males prowling the city centre is taken up nationally as the best way to train doorstaff.

Not so good week - Sir Brian Souter

the Stagecoach bus boss has to figure out a way of preventing Tyne and Wear councils going ahead with the now announced bus takeover plan. Or find a way of selling it to his many share holders.

Coming up

Summer

MPs are away from London, and the holiday should be a time of quiet for the party leaders, Howell-esq mistakes excluded.

But Labour leader Ed Miliband has already been criticised by one Yorkshire MP, and there are rumblings of disquiet in the North East.

Expect to see a lot more of Judith Kirton-Darling. That double-barrel name wasn't enough to stop her being selected as Labour's candidate for the vacant MEP seat this week, ahead of the 2014 elections.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer