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.

Who is the real opposition to Labour?

14 min listen

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 on that here). Are they the new party of opposition? And what sort of tactics will the Tories use to try and claw back

Why has Douglas Ross resigned as Scottish Tory leader?

11 min listen

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

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

Isabel Hardman

Why did Sunak leave the D-Day commemorations early?

13 min listen

It’s yet another gaffe for Rishi Sunak. At yesterday’s D Day anniversary celebrations when it came time for official photographs with Joe Biden, Olaf Scholz and Emmanuel Macron, it was Lord Cameron, not Rishi Sunak, who did the honours for Britain. With the prime minister reportedly leaving early to do a pre-recorded political interview with

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

Why has the election been called now?

15 min listen

Less than 24 hours after Rishi Sunak’s surprise election announcement, we look ahead to the parties’ campaigns. What has been the fall out? How have Labour responded to the shock news? And why didn’t Rishi have an umbrella? James Heale is joined by Isabel Hardman and former Labour adviser John McTernan to discuss.  Produced by

Infected blood scandal was ‘no accident’, says report

17 min listen

The Infected Blood Inquiry has finally concluded after a five-year investigation. This lunchtime, the inquiry’s chair Sir Brian Langstaff said thousands of deaths could have been prevented and the ‘worst ever’ NHS scandal, which saw thousands of Britons between 1970 and 1998 become infected by contaminated blood, could ‘largely, though not entirely, have been avoided’.

Starmer fluffs his lines at PMQs

11 min listen

There were no defections today at Prime Minister’s Questions, which probably put Keir Starmer in a slightly stronger position, ironically, given the fuss about Natalie Elphicke crossing the floor last week. The focus was on justice and both the PM and Starmer came up with some new attack lines, but the delivery was – in

Why does Labour want Natalie Elphicke?

12 min listen

The MP for Dover, Natalie Elphicke, has shocked MPs and pundits across the political spectrum by defecting to the Labour party today. In her resignation letter, she accused the Conservative party for having ‘abandoned’ the ‘centre ground’. But for someone who has vocally criticised Labour in the past, how helpful is Elphicke’s defection? Oscar Edmondson

Will the Tories’ mental health focus backfire?

17 min listen

As figures now show there are 2.8 million people claiming out-of-work benefits, Rishi Sunak gave a speech looking at welfare reform. But with more and more people off work for mental health related issues, could the Tories’ focus backfire if the public think they’re trivialising mental health? Also on the podcast, a look ahead to

Has Angela Rayner redeemed herself?

10 min listen

With Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer away, Oliver Dowden and Angela Rayner stepped in for PMQs today. Questions quickly turned to the long running row about Rayner’s tax affairs. Did she redeem herself?    Also, the prime minister has announced further UK military spending, confirming it will rise to 2.5% of national income by 2030.

Sunak’s Truss problem

11 min listen

The day after her book was published, Rishi Sunak faced down questions from Keir Starmer and Labour members at PMQs about Liz Truss. While he had his replies at the ready, the questions underscored the main issue for Sunak: how should he deal with his predecessor?  Also on the podcast, there is more inflation news

Has Rishi Sunak failed on the NHS?

13 min listen

One of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s five promises is to cut NHS waiting lists. However, even he’s admitted progress is slow, with new data showing key targets on waiting lists have been missed. Can Sunak ever solve the NHS problem?  Elsewhere, Lee Anderson has been telling us about the price of friendship, revealing he won’t

What are the conclusions of the Cass Review?

12 min listen

Today we have had the Cass Review, a landmark report into gender services for children in England, authored by paediatrician Hilary Cass. She concludes that medical interventions were being made on the basis of ‘remarkably weak’ evidence and that there is a lack of a holistic approach to those questioning their gender. How big of

J.K. Rowling vs Scotland’s hate monster

15 min listen

J.K. Rowling has been at the centre of a Twitter backlash against Scotland’s new hate crime laws which came into effect on April 1st. How has the first week of this controversial legislation gone for First Minister Humza Yousaf? And is political support for the policy dwindling? Natasha Feroze speaks to Lucy Dunn and Isabel

Should Britain end arms sales to Israel?

13 min listen

The row over arms sales to Israel continues today, as over 600 high profile figures in the legal profession, including former Supreme Court Justice Jonathan Sumption, sign a petition arguing they believe Israel has breached international law, and more Conservative politicians say, on the record, that they believe the UK must respond with an arms

Has Israel lost British support?

13 min listen

The killings of three British aid workers in Gaza has caused fury across the board in Westminster, with Rishi Sunak conducting a candid phone call with Benyamin Netanyahu last night. Today, the question is over whether the UK should ban arms sales to Israel in a bid to influence Jerusalem’s hardline approach to Gaza. Has