57 episodes

POLITICO’s weekly political series lifts the curtain on how Westminster really works, offering in-depth insight into the political issues which typically only get broad-brush treatment in the wider media.
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POLITICO's Westminster Insider POLITICO Europe

    • News

POLITICO’s weekly political series lifts the curtain on how Westminster really works, offering in-depth insight into the political issues which typically only get broad-brush treatment in the wider media.
Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    Meet Laura Kuenssberg: the most famous face in British political journalism

    Meet Laura Kuenssberg: the most famous face in British political journalism

    POLITICO's Ailbhe Rea meets the ultimate Westminster Insider, Laura Kuenssberg, until recently the BBC's political editor and the new host of the BBC's flagship Sunday politics show.
    In a rare interview, Kuenssberg discusses her early career, life covering the tumult of the past seven years in British politics, and how she managed to survive the relentless pace at the coalface. She discusses the sisterhood in Westminster, how it feels to be at the center of heated rows about bias and impartiality, and reveals what she really thought of British comedian Joe Lycett's controversial appearance on her debut show.  

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    • 42 min
    Why we secretly love party conferences

    Why we secretly love party conferences

    It's time for the weirdest few weeks of the British political calendar: conference season.
    Host Ailbhe Rea takes us on a whistle-stop tour of the speeches, fringe events, champagne receptions and bad karaoke parties that happen at the annual Conservative and Labour conference, with the help of Emily Thornberry, Labour's shadow attorney general and a conference veteran. Two former advisers to Conservative cabinet ministers, Tim Smith and Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, tell the inside story of some of their party's best and worst speeches and some of their own conference memories.
    Mikey Smith, the Mirror's Whitehall correspondent, discusses the conference "gaffe" — and how he derailed Labour conference when he recorded the party's Deputy Leader Angela Rayner calling the Tories "scum."
    What's it all for? Why do insiders love it? And does any of it really matter?

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    • 40 min
    The Queen: The ultimate Westminster Insider

    The Queen: The ultimate Westminster Insider

    Behind the scenes, the late Queen Elizabeth II was the ultimate Westminster Insider. 
    Host Ailbhe Rea and POLITICO's Annabelle Dickson uncover how the Queen received a daily dose of gossip from deep inside the heart of government, and speaks to two of the politicians tasked with sending that private missive to Buckingham Palace: former Conservative whip Anne Milton, and former Cabinet minister Julian Smith.
    Simon Lewis, a former communications secretary to the Queen and later to Gordon Brown in Downing Street, shares the inside track on the red boxes and the "golden triangle" that kept the Queen intimately informed of what was going on in her government, and Dr Michelle Clement, historian at King's College London and researcher in residence at No. 10, discusses the all-important private audiences between the Queen and her 15 prime ministers.  

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    • 41 min
    After Boris: What now for the Tories?

    After Boris: What now for the Tories?

    With days to go until Boris Johnson’s replacement is announced, host Ailbhe Rea considers whether the Conservatives are now on their way out of office — or whether this is just one more clever shape-shift from the most successful political party in the world. She meets Johnson’s cheerleaders and his critics, grassroots members and expert advisers, to discuss how Boris Johnson changed the Tory Party — and what on earth it will do when he’s gone.
    Ailbhe asks Nadine Dorries, the culture secretary and an early Boris believer, about what makes Boris Johnson a winner. David Gauke, the former justice secretary, and ex-minister Margot James recall being ousted from the party during the Brexit wars of 2019, and unpick how the party has changed. Rachel Wolf, the co-author of the Conservative manifesto from 2019, explains how Boris Johnson consciously went after new voters, while pollster James Johnson discusses the huge challenges ahead. At hustings in Norwich, grassroots Conservative members share their thoughts on where the party goes next.

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    • 39 min
    What's the point of Prime Minister's Questions?

    What's the point of Prime Minister's Questions?

    As Boris Johnson prepares for his final session of Prime Minister's Questions, Ailbhe Rea takes a look inside the weekly showdown at the heart of British politics.
    Former PM David Cameron explains what it's really like to stand at the despatch box for a noisy session of PMQs, and reveals how he prepared and strategized for the toughest event of his week.
    Ayesha Hazarika, a former adviser to Ed Miliband, lifts the lid on the different pressures faced by a leader of the opposition, while Theo Bertram, a former adviser to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in No. 10, considers why these sessions matter beyond the cut-and-thrust of Westminster.
    Finally, Quentin Letts, the Times’s sketchwriter extraordinaire, recalls great moments of PMQs from years gone by and pays tribute to a British institution where the human drama of British politics is best explored, and where leaders rise and fall.

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    • 43 min
    Through the lens of Twitter: Watching a government collapse in real time

    Through the lens of Twitter: Watching a government collapse in real time

    As the jaw-dropping downfall of Boris Johnson plays out on Twitter feeds across Westminster and far beyond, Jack Blanchard looks at how the social media platform has revolutionized the way we watch, write about and conduct British politics.
    Co-host Ailbhe Rea, Twitter executive Nick Pickles and freelance journalist Marie Le Conte discuss how Twitter has become the main platform through which political junkies now view major events such as the end of a prime minister's premiership, and how it offers the whole world a window into the once-closed world of Westminster.
    Labour MP Jess Phillips and Tory Michael Fabricant discuss how Twitter has boosted their profiles, and how it offers opportunities to connect with voters which simply did not exist 15 years ago. And Jeremy Corbyn's former strategic comms chief, James Schneider, explains how the platform can be harnessed to affect real political change.

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    • 39 min

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