James Heale

James Heale

James Heale is The Spectator’s political correspondent.

Trump returns with a sedate RNC speech

Milwaukee, Wisconsin The Republican National Committee could not have hoped for a better convention. For three days, the party has exhibited a near-faultless display of unity. It is the first convention in 20 years where polls suggest the Republicans are on course to win the White House, producing an air of expectation and excitement. Activists

Meet the MAGA megafans

Milwaukee, Wisconsin If you want to see how Donald Trump has changed his party, look at what attendees wore to this week’s convention in Milwaukee. Gone are the days when Republicans plumped for preppy blazers and demure khakis; now the fashion is for ostentatious displays of red, white and blue. Even the red ‘MAGA’ baseball

Trump picks JD Vance as running mate

After all the speculation, it’s now official: JD Vance will be Donald Trump’s running mate in November. The subject has been the obsession of delegates here in Milwaukee on day one of the Republican National Convention. In typical Apprentice style, Trump has allowed speculation to build for weeks, as the media picked over various candidates, before picking

Milwaukee reluctantly prepares for Trumpmania

Milwaukee, Wisconsin Milwaukee will host America’s conservative elite for the next five days – including Donald Trump, who has just survived an assassination attempt. This true-blue city has been chosen to host the Republican National Convention, primarily because of it’s the largest city in swing state Wisconsin. Around 50,000 delegates, politicians, apparatchiks and journalists are

James Heale

Two killed in Trump assassination attempt

Donald Trump was rushed off stage by Secret Service agents on Saturday afternoon after shots rang out at his rally in Pennsylvania. A male attacker was shot and killed by a federal agent after the assassination attempt. The attacker killed one spectator at the rally, and two others are critically injured, according to the secret

Farage reshuffles Reform’s top team

It’s been a busy week for Nigel Farage. After six days of being bombarded with parties, press requests and parliamentary rigmarole, he was this morning sworn in as the Honourable Member for Clacton. Such is the level of attention foisted on the Reform UK leader that even House of Commons staff have reportedly now been

James Heale

Sunak apologises to Tory MPs for election mess

Before the joy of last night’s football, came the sorrow of Rishi Sunak’s address to Tory MPs. The Conservative leader addressed the 1922 committee for the first time since calling the election which reduced his colleagues’ numbers by almost two-thirds. Instead of the usual oak-panelled confines of the committee’s favoured committee room 14, the night’s

James Heale

Who will lead the Tories next?

Rishi Sunak performed a mea culpa when his shadow cabinet convened on Monday, taking full responsibility for the election loss. There were, he said, lots of lessons to be learned. He tried rallying his team, reminding them it was time to knuckle down and prepare for the King’s Speech. When those around the table began

Your guide for general election night 2024

After six weeks of campaigning, we are finally here. The bongs of Big Ben at 10 p.m. mark the end of voting across the UK and the start of an election night full of drama. Labour are set to make huge gains at the respective expense of the Tories in England and the SNP in

Labour heading for landslide, say Tories

Labour is ‘highly likely’ to win a landslide majority tomorrow of historic proportions, according to Rishi Sunak’s own candidates. During this morning’s media round, Mel Stride was asked by the BBC if he agreed with Suella Braverman, who wrote in the Telegraph that a near wipe-out looks to be on the cards. ‘I have accepted where the

Is it going wrong for Reform?

Has Reform peaked too soon? In the wake of Rishi Sunak’s D-Day debacle, the party was riding high in the polls. Successive surveys suggested that they were neck-and-neck with the Tories. After one poll even showed Reform ahead, Nigel Farage hailed it as a ‘crossover moment’. He jokingly referred to himself as the ‘Leader of

Sunak and Starmer slug out a stalemate

Tonight saw the penultimate TV exchange involving Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer. Both men took part in live-streamed interviews with the Sun’s political editor Harry Cole and a live studio audience, ten days prior to polling day. Sunak was up first and had a difficult balancing act in the 30-minute exchange, seeking to embrace the

James Heale

Farage goes on the attack after Ukraine criticism

Foreign policy hasn’t featured much in this election – until now. Over the weekend, Nigel Farage’s suggestion that the West was partially to blame for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine produced an avalanche of cross-party criticism. Both Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak labelled his comments ‘disgraceful’, while the Mail on Sunday claimed a member of president Zelensky’s staff

Inside the battle for Bristol

Even if Keir Starmer wins a landslide majority next week, there is one former stronghold he might still lose. A Green insurgency is giving Thangam Debbonaire, the shadow culture secretary, the fight of her political life.  In this election the Greens are posing as a radical-left alternative to Starmer’s Labour. And Bristol Central, known as

Farage’s ‘contract’ is all about hurting the Tories

Nigel Farage has launched his party’s manifesto, which he’s termed ‘Our contract with you’. The Reform leader dropped the word ‘manifesto’, claiming the word is synonymous in voters’ minds with ‘lies’. Farage told attendees he’d chosen Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales for today’s launch to highlight Labour’s record there, yet the document’s contents indicate that

Farage: I am now the ‘Leader of the Opposition’

After the first poll was published showing Reform ahead of the Tories, there was only one thing for Nigel Farage to do: hold an emergency press conference at the heart of Westminster. This afternoon journalists scrambled over to the Wellington Hotel to hear what Farage had to say after reaching the long-awaited ‘crossover’ moment when

Sunak plays it safe with his manifesto

With three weeks to go until polling day, Rishi Sunak this morning unveiled his prospectus for a Conservative government. There had been much talk that the Tory manifesto would have a big, bold policy to win back voters: perhaps the abolition of inheritance tax or maybe a referendum on the European Court of Human Rights.

James Heale

What can we expect in the Tory manifesto?

Day two of manifesto week will see the Conservatives launch their prospectus for government. At a chunky 77 pages, the document aims to set out what the Tories intend to do if given another five years. Rishi Sunak’s party has already announced a slew of policies in the campaign (from mandatory national service to more

Will the Lib Dem manifesto win over the ‘Blue Wall’?

Sir Ed Davey kicked off manifesto week by launching his party’s document this afternoon in East London. In true Lib Dem style, it is a weighty tome of 114 pages – the product of months of painstaking care by party strategists. Their task was to reconcile the desires of the activist base with the demands