Isabel Hardman

Isabel Hardman

Isabel Hardman is assistant editor of The Spectator and author of Why We Get the Wrong Politicians. She also presents Radio 4’s Week in Westminster.

The Tory party’s sums don’t add up

There is, to put it mildly, a lack of candour in this election campaign when it comes to tax rises and spending cuts. The Conservatives are trying to force Labour into a game of Whac-a-mole over which taxes it would put up and which rises the party is happy to rule out. Whoever is in

Starmer will keep shtum til 5 July

Tonight Keir Starmer took another look at Labour’s poll lead, threw caution to the wind, and revealed his radical plans for the government he hopes to lead in a few weeks time. Only kidding. The Labour leader’s interview with the BBC’s Nick Robinson didn’t reveal anything we didn’t know and Starmer won’t be obliging with

Isabel Hardman

Who is the real opposition to Labour now?

Nigel Farage tried to claim at the start of Thursday’s TV debate that Reform was the real threat to Keir Starmer, given it has just passed the Conservatives in the polls (more from Katy on that here). Penny Mordaunt, of course, didn’t want to entertain the idea of her party being in opposition, but she

Why Labour’s plans are so vague

Keir Starmer has deliberately pursued a strategy of revealing as little as possible, boasting today that his manifesto didn’t contain any surprises. In between his verbal tic about his father being a toolmaker, Starmer has been least at ease in the TV debates, and it was in the first of these that he said more than

Isabel Hardman

How will Labour fix a struggling NHS?

The latest NHS waiting figures are without question a problem for Rishi Sunak: they’re going up again for the first time in seven months. The performance data for NHS England shows that 6.33 million patients were waiting for 7.6 million treatments at the end of April, up from 6.29 people and 7.54 million treatments in

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

Isabel Hardman

Douglas Ross resigns as Scottish Tory leader

Just when you thought this election campaign couldn’t get any more tumultuous, Douglas Ross has announced he will resign as Scottish Conservative leader. He had lost the support of his colleagues – particularly those in Holyrood – following his decision to effectively take over a Westminster colleague’s constituency when that MP was seriously ill in

Mordaunt’s debate strategy was to pretend Farage wasn’t there

How is it possible that a seven-way debate between the main parties in this election was more civilised than the two-way stand-off between Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak earlier this week? Tonight’s BBC debate was bizarrely better viewing. Sure, the party representatives interrupted one another, attacked each other, and flung about fake figures. But it

Isabel Hardman

Sunak apologises for leaving D-Day commemorations

Rishi Sunak has just apologised for missing the international D-Day event in Normandy to fly back early to the UK for an interview with ITV. There has been a mixture of outrage and total bewilderment about why the Prime Minister chose to leave after the British event, putting foreign secretary David Cameron in his place,

Alex Salmond: We are not splitting the SNP vote

Is Alex Salmond feasting on the misery of an SNP that, having hit its high watermark, is now having to work hard to hold onto its Westminster seats? Not at all, according to the Alba leader, who told Andrew Neil on Times Radio today that he was in fact trying to help the cause of

Isabel Hardman

Labour is breaking one of the last taboos in politics

Labour has decided to lean into the £2,000 tax hike claim by the Tories, and turn it into a row about lying. Keir Starmer yesterday accused Rishi Sunak of ‘lying’, saying: ‘That’s why the choice at the next election is starker now than it was yesterday. It’s a choice between chaos and confusion, the sort of thing

Why are the Tories playing Farage’s game?

How should Rishi Sunak respond to the unwelcome insertion of Nigel Farage into the election campaign? The Prime Minister called the election for 4 July in part because he hoped it would wrong-foot Reform, but that hasn’t worked, with Farage electrifying the challenger party and near-electrocuting many Tory MPs who were already terrified of losing

Labour comes out of Scottish debate on top

There is a truism in British politics that things would be much more civil if there were more women in the room. Tonight’s all-male Scottish leaders’ debate undermined that: the exchanges were far less vehement and aggressive than they had been when Nicola Sturgeon was SNP leader and when she was facing other female leaders.

Isabel Hardman

George Galloway: Labour is the ‘number one enemy’

George Galloway would be happy if his Workers’ Party of Britain denied Labour the chance of an outright majority at the election because it would mean that whoever was in power would have to listen to the smaller parties. That was his message today when interviewed by Andrew Neil on Times Radio: the former Labour

Starmer’s safety-first campaign is backfiring

The problem with spending an election campaign saying as little new as possible is that it does leave a big gap that can easily be filled with rows over process and mistakes. Labour has a safety-first approach to its campaign, wanting to reassure voters that it has changed rather than being too exciting, but this

Starmer’s ‘why Labour’ message needs to get slicker

Keir Starmer has been considerably less discombobulated by the election announcement than the party that made it, but he still has some catching up to do. The Labour leader knows that he has to answer the question of ‘why Labour’ to voters who have already largely accepted that there is a strong reason to change

Who dares, wins? Not Michael Gove

Michael Gove has just announced he is standing down at the election. He spent the past few days agonising privately over the decision, and published a letter on Twitter paying tribute to the Conservative party’s legacy in government – mostly his legacy, in fact. He names education reform, funding for modernising prisons and rehabilitation, progressive