Uk politics

Natasha Feroze, Robert Ades, Lucasta Miller, Sam McPhail, Toby Young and Catriona Olding

38 min listen

On this week’s Spectator Out Loud: Natasha Feroze reports on the return of ex-Labour MP Keith Vaz (1:10); Robert Ades presents the case against sociology A-level (7:39); Lucasta Miller reviews Katherine Bucknell’s book, Christopher Isherwood Inside Out (15:24); Sam McPhail provides his notes on the lager Madri (23:16); Toby Young explains why he will be voting Reform (26:23); and, Catriona Olding reflects on love and friendship (31:17). Presented by Patrick Gibbons.  

The Harriet Harman Edition

30 min listen

The most recent ‘mother of the house’, Harriet Harman has been an MP for 42 years. She has served in a number of cabinet positions, under six Labour leaders, both during government and opposition. She was also deputy leader of the Labour Party for 8 years. In some ways, her story is emblematic of how women’s roles in society have changed: challenging familial stereotypes, dealing with sexual harassment, and as a trailblazing politician. On this episode, Katy Balls talks to Harriet about the influence of her family, why she got into politics, and why Labour hasn’t had a female leader yet. Produced by Patrick Gibbons.

What wasn’t included in Labour’s manifesto

13 min listen

Keir Starmer launched Labour’s manifesto today, but how much did we actually learn about their plans for government? And with no rabbits pulled out of the proverbial hat, how do they plan to achieve growth? Kate Andrews and Starmer’s biographer Tom Baldwin joined Katy Balls to discuss. Tom also provided some insight into Angela Rayner’s election bus, including a surprising admission about a lettuce…  Produced by Patrick Gibbons.

Keir Starmer needs a better answer to the Jeremy Corbyn question

Keir Starmer looked baffled by tonight’s questions. Rishi Sunak looked resigned. Separating the two candidates – having them face Beth Rigby and the audience, rather than each other – led to far more defensive performances: Starmer on tax, and Sunak on the Tory record. Both spent the majority of the time looking deeply uncomfortable.  Sunak did not have an easy ride. The audience, all warmed up by the Labour leader’s interview, was more likely to jump in and heckle. Asked questions about his ‘five promises’ made in January 2023 – only one of which he has made good on – Sunak tried to move the goalposts, insisting that those promises

Fraser Nelson

Why are Tories talking about a Labour Super Majority?

12 min listen

Grant Shapps has been speaking to media this morning and warning that a Labour landslide would be ‘very bad news’ for the country. Is the acknowledgement that Labour could seriously damage the Tories a slip of the tongue, or a new strategy for the Tories? Elsewhere, the interview that Rishi Sunak left D Day commemorations for is airing tonight. In a controversial moment, when asked what he had to go without as a child, he says Sky TV…  Megan McElroy speaks to Fraser Nelson and Katy Balls. Join the Coffee House Shots team for a live recording on Thursday 11 July. Get tickets at

Sunak’s manifesto is not credible

Rishi Sunak’s manifesto launch was necessarily defensive: the Prime Minister is trying to stem the losses in this election campaign rather than present an exciting vision of a new Britain. It was striking how much Sunak talked about Labour in his speech at Silverstone. Almost every Tory policy he referred to was immediately contrasted with what Labour would or wouldn’t do. His best line was that ‘if you don’t know what Labour will do, don’t vote for them. If you’re concerned about what Starmer isn’t telling you, don’t vote for them’. Even if the Tories did make bold promises, there is a credibility gap The best Sunak can hope for

Katy Balls

Is Sunak’s cautious manifesto a mistake?

13 min listen

Conservatives hoping to turn their fortunes around with the publication of the party’s manifesto have been disappointed. The document contained little by way of surprises or rabbits, and despite Sunak’s pledge that the Conservatives are the party of tax cutting, the new costings show that the tax burden will continue to rise. Katy Balls talks to James Heale and Kate Andrews. Join the Coffee House Shots team for a live recording on Thursday 11 July. Get tickets at Produced by Cindy Yu.

Max Jeffery

Max Jeffery, Melanie McDonagh, Matthew Parris, Iain MacGregor and Petronella Wyatt

28 min listen

On this week’s Spectator Out Loud: Max Jeffery reports on the rise of luxury watch thefts in London (1:18); Melanie McDonagh discusses the collapse of religion in Scotland (5:51); reflecting on the longevity of Diane Abbott and what her selection row means for Labour, Matthew Parris argues that shrewd plans need faultless execution (10:44); Iain MacGregor reviews Giles Milton’s book ‘The Stalin Affair’ (17:30); and, Petronella Wyatt ponders her lack of luck with love (21:49). Presented and produced by Patrick Gibbons. 

Will Labour’s manifesto contain a surprise?

14 min listen

Overnight, details of Labour’s manifesto were leaked. There are several new policies, but how surprising are they, and how will they land with voters?  Elsewhere, Rishi Sunak has denied he planned to skip D Day events altogether since our episode this morning. Can the row get any worse? James Heale speaks to Isabel Hardman and John McTernan, former political secretary to Tony Blair. 

Katy Balls

The Nickie Aiken Edition

37 min listen

Nickie Aiken has been an elected public servant for 18 years. An MP since 2019, she has served as a deputy chairman and a vice-chair of the Conservative Party. She was also a councillor in Westminster for 16 years including as leader of the council and previously worked in public relations.  On the episode, Katy Balls talks to Nickie about how she got into politics, why the tea room is the most useful part of Parliament, and the scourge of pedicabs in London. Not seeking re-election at this general election, Nickie also reflects on the politics of the past few years and on what the future might hold for the

The Green party is terrifying

Is the Green party the most controversial force in British politics? It’s certainly giving Reform a run for its money. In the past few months, the Greens have suspended a former London Assembly member and two-time London mayoral candidate after he lamented that colleagues had denounced the Cass Review. After the local elections, one councillor sparked outrage by shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ to celebrate his victory. At the weekend, it was reported that three candidates for the party were no longer standing amid suggestions they made racist comments. What do traditional Green voters – those primarily driven by environmental concerns – make of these developments?   Now there’s the backlash to their scandalous maternity policy. In

The Farage factor

45 min listen

This week: The Farage factor. Our cover piece looks at the biggest news from this week of the general election campaign, Nigel Farage’s decision to stand again for Parliament. Farage appealed to voters in the seaside town of Clacton to send him to Westminster to be a ‘nuisance’. Indeed, how much of a nuisance will he be to Rishi Sunak in this campaign? Will this boost Reform’s ratings across Britain? And could it be eighth time lucky for Nigel? The Spectator‘s political editor Katy Balls joins the podcast to discuss, alongside former Clacton and UKIP MP, Douglas Carswell (2:32). Then: Gavin Mortimer reports from France ahead of the European and local

Katy Balls

Has there been a CCHQ candidates stitch up?

14 min listen

Conservative grassroots are up in arms over the installment of Tory party chairman, Richard Holden, as the candidate for Basildon and Billericay, a safe seat. The local association was given a shortlist of one by CCHQ. Katy Balls talks to James Heale and commentator and Conservative peer, Paul Goodman. Produced by Cindy Yu.

Who won the first leaders’ debate?

17 min listen

Last night, Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer went head-to-head in the first TV debate of the campaign. They clashed on a variety of topics, including housing, the NHS, and immigration. But who came out on top? Katy Balls speaks to Kate Andrews and Isabel Hardman. Produced by Megan McElroy.

What would it take for Sunak to have a breakthrough?

13 min listen

Some Conservatives have put their hopes on tonight’s TV debate as a breakthrough moment for the lacklustre and disorganised Tory campaign, but will it really be a gamechanger? James Heale talks to Isabel Hardman about why she’s sceptical, and to the pollster Chris Hopkins at Savanta about why the Tories just aren’t closing that poll gap. Produced by Megan McElroy and Cindy Yu.

Could Farage crush the Tories?

13 min listen

This afternoon a wildcard was thrown into the election – the return of Nigel Farage. He will be standing for the Reform party at Clacton, the one parliamentary seat that Ukip had held. What will this mean for the Conservatives? James Heale talks to Fraser Nelson and Katy Balls. Produced by Oscar Edmondson and Cindy Yu.

Who will survive to lead the Tories?

In spite of his conviction for falsifying business records, Donald Trump is still expected by many to make a remarkable political comeback in November’s US election. Could we see an equally remarkable comeback this side of the Atlantic, too, with Liz Truss returning to the stand for the leadership of the Conservative party? It’s possible to see a scenario where Truss is one of the few hopefuls remaining Today’s Electoral Calculus poll predicting that the Conservatives could be reduced to just 66 seats on 4 July raises the question: who would still be around to lead the party after the almost certain resignation of Rishi Sunak? Electoral Calculus’s model is

The statistic that should terrify Tory HQ

The tightening looks on. On Tuesday, my polling firm JL Partners published its first campaign poll showing a 12-point Labour lead, down from 15 points at the start of May and 18 points in April. Our data scientist, Callum Hunter, has written for The Spectator on why we are confident our methodology is the right one. We will need to see in our next poll whether the trend continues or stalls. But there are reasons in the data to believe the Tories have more support to pick up. Reform is still on 12 per cent, and around four in ten (37 per cent) say they would consider voting for the

Wannabes: are any of them ready?

36 min listen

On this week’s Edition: Wannabes – are any of them ready? Our cover piece takes a look at the state of the parties a week into the UK general election campaign. The election announcement took everyone by surprise, including Tory MPs, so what’s been the fallout since? To provide the latest analysis, The Spectator’s political editor Katy Balls joins the podcast (2:00). Then: Angus Colwell reports on how the election is playing out on social media, and the increasing role of the political ‘spinfluencer’. These accounts have millions of likes, but how influential could they be during the election? Alongside Angus, Harry Boeken, aka @thechampagne_socialist on TikTok, joins us to share their