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140 journalists face the axe at BBC news

First round of job cuts in five year plan announced.

The BBC has announced that 140 journalists are being cut.

This is the first round of cuts announced at BBC News as part of the Delivering Quality First programme and more are expected as the five-year plan is rolled out.

According to the NUJ today’s journalism cuts include:

  • Three Newsnight reporters, three Radio 4 news reporters and 17 posts across Radio 1 and 1Xtra news services
  • 28 posts in the Newsroom, including nine studio staff. The News Channel will lose a presenter, the Radio Newsroom two senior broadcast journalists, with six posts to go in online
  • Editions are being cut from Radio 4’s Law in Action, and The Report, while Beyond Westminster and Taking a Stand will come to an end
  • The axing of 31 posts in national TV current affairs has already been announced and as a result there will be no current affairs programmes on BBC 4. There will be a cut of about nine hours per year of ad hoc current affairs series on BBC2
  • he BBC plans to halve its spending on party conferences and dramatically reduce programme presentation from them. Six jobs will go at Millbank, including four posts in Live Political Programmes
  • International news coverage will be affected with a number of reporter posts around the world to go. Some will be replaced with locally recruited staff on local terms and conditions.

As part of the DQF cuts announced last year the corporation said it was cutting 2,000 jobs overall including around 500 in news over the next five years. This from a total pool of around 8,000 journalists.

To read more visit Press Gazette.

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Geoffrey Howe dies, aged 88

Howe was Margaret Thatcher's longest serving Cabinet minister – and the man credited with precipitating her downfall.

The former Conservative chancellor Lord Howe, a key figure in the Thatcher government, has died of a suspected heart attack, his family has said. He was 88.

Geoffrey Howe was the longest-serving member of Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet, playing a key role in both her government and her downfall. Born in Port Talbot in 1926, he began his career as a lawyer, and was first elected to parliament in 1964, but lost his seat just 18 months later.

Returning as MP for Reigate in the Conservative election victory of 1970, he served in the government of Edward Heath, first as Solicitor General for England & Wales, then as a Minister of State for Trade. When Margaret Thatcher became opposition leader in 1975, she named Howe as her shadow chancellor.

He retained this brief when the party returned to government in 1979. In the controversial budget of 1981, he outlined a radical monetarist programme, abandoning then-mainstream economic thinking by attempting to rapidly tackle the deficit at a time of recession and unemployment. Following the 1983 election, he was appointed as foreign secretary, in which post he negotiated the return of Hong Kong to China.

In 1989, Thatcher demoted Howe to the position of leader of the house and deputy prime minister. And on 1 November 1990, following disagreements over Britain's relationship with Europe, he resigned from the Cabinet altogether. 

Twelve days later, in a powerful speech explaining his resignation, he attacked the prime minister's attitude to Brussels, and called on his former colleagues to "consider their own response to the tragic conflict of loyalties with which I have myself wrestled for perhaps too long".

Labour Chancellor Denis Healey once described an attack from Howe as "like being savaged by a dead sheep" - but his resignation speech is widely credited for triggering the process that led to Thatcher's downfall. Nine days later, her premiership was over.

Howe retired from the Commons in 1992, and was made a life peer as Baron Howe of Aberavon. He later said that his resignation speech "was not intended as a challenge, it was intended as a way of summarising the importance of Europe". 

Nonetheless, he added: "I am sure that, without [Thatcher's] resignation, we would not have won the 1992 election... If there had been a Labour government from 1992 onwards, New Labour would never have been born."

Jonn Elledge is the editor of the New Statesman's sister site CityMetric. He is on Twitter, far too much, as @JonnElledge.