Instant political analysis from the Spectator's top team of writers, including Fraser Nelson, James Forsyth, Isabel Hardman, Katy Balls and many others.
Did Tory whips blackmail Red Wall MPs?
As the Prime Minister has a stay of execution after the pork pie plot came to nothing, today allegations are flying that Tory whips have been using unsavoury methods to threaten wavering MPs into line. Christian Wakeford, the newly defected Labour MP to Bury South, says that whips threatened to withdraw funding from a local school; while William Wragg claims that MPs have been blackmailed with information about their private lives. But how much of this is true, and how much, as some in SW1 are saying today, is this just a part of being a whip?
On the podcast, James Forsyth points out how some of this comes down to 'the fact that some of the new intake of Tory MPs have been quite shocked at how aggressive the "flush-out" tactics have been', when it comes to using newspaper headlines to publicly name rebels (for example the pork pie-ers earlier this week). Meanwhile, Katy Balls tells Isabel Hardman that this will be a troubling development if more revelations come up: 'Any piece of news that can fit into the general narrative of Boris under pressure on party-gate and... give it a fresh lease of life, is a problem'.
Is Boris safe for now?
Last night rumours were flying around Westminster that letters of no confidence from Tory MPs were pouring in and Boris might be leaving sooner rather than later. But with the surprising crossing of the aisle by MP for Bury South, Christian Wakeford, it appears that old party tribalism may have stayed some hands.
'While a coup against a leader is one thing defecting is quite another.' - James Forsyth
Katy Balls talks with James Forsyth and Isabel Hardman about all of today's political drama, from Keir Starmer's 'very good' jokes to David Davis's public call for Johnson to 'in the name of God go!'
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Will Red Wall MPs turn on Boris?
To keep Partygate alive, Dominic Cummings has released fresh accusations on his blog about Boris Johnson, who he claims knew about the parties taking place. The former chief advisor to the Prime Minister is prepared to swear under oath on this. As divisions in the Tory party are starting to show, a no confidence motion could be expected in days.
'There is a cat and mouse game where those loyal to the leader are trying smoke out potential rebels' - James Forsyth
All eyes are on Keir Starmer for PMQs tomorrow.
Katy Balls speaks to James Forsyth.
Will Operation Red Meat work?
Tory MPs have just returned from their constituencies after a weekend of persuading voters to support their party in the May local elections. It’s not just the public that is angry, the local associations are equally outraged at the scandals that have marred the first month of 2022.
Those around Boris Johnson are planning 'Operation Red Meat' which is a policy tactic to save the Prime Minister's premiership. Nadine Dorries has announced her plans to cut the budget of the BBC. It has also been announced that the military is stepping in to try to stop migrants crossing the English Channel. But is it a little too late?
‘They’ve been telling us they are going to sort this [migrant crisis] out but for two years the problem has got worse' - James Forsyth.
Even by the government’s own admission, the solution rests on finding somewhere to host an offshore processing centre. But most of the countries the government is looking towards are unlikely to be suitable partners.
All of this on the podcast as Katy Balls speaks to Isabel Hardman and James Forsyth.
Isabel Hardman's Sunday Roundup - 16/01/22
Isabel Hardman hosts the highlights from Sunday's political shows, with interviewees Sir Keir Starmer, Oliver Dowden, and Iain Duncan Smith and Kurt Volker.
After Boris, who?
Katy Balls, James Forsyth and Fraser Nelson discuss what happens if Boris Johnson's premiership is overwhelmed by the sheer volume of Downing Street parties he may or may not have attended.
"I will eat this microphone if Steve Baker or Kemi Badenoch stand." – Fraser Nelson
Great podcast but dubious sound!
I love these podcasts. They’re very insightful and are wonderfully knowledgeable.
The presenters are great. A news output who has some amazing female contributors, which is good.
However, the sound quality is sometimes distracting. Mouths are quite often too near the microphone creating a popping sound on ‘p’, ‘d’ and ‘b’ sounds.
Even the intro on this and every episode where a subscription to the magazine is offered, there is the popping sound.
Please listen on AirPods and see how loud and annoying this is!
James always speaks to closely to the mic. It drives me wild. It doesn’t need to me on your mouth. It’s a microphone. It’s designed to pick up sound from a small distance away! Seriously. It’s awful to listen to on AirPods.
Otherwise, keep up the great work!
The Authoritative Update on British Politics
Coffee House Shots is unquestionably one of my go-to podcasts for timely insights into the U.K. political maelstrom (along with The Edition and Freddy Gray’s Americano to complete the grand slam); this, I find, complements Seb Payne’s weekly podcast for the FT quite well as that tends to be more Westminster-focused, whereas CHS - as a daily podcast - digests broader U.K. issues in a quickly accessible fashion. I particularly enjoy the analysis on topics oft-ignored until “it’s too late” in the British psyche, such as the SNP, Ulster, and foreign relations, as it reminds me that people with their heads screwed on still do think about these issues and that these topics are important to discuss.
While this analysis is essential for anyone seriously engaged in British politics (from the ballium of the Commons looking out or the throngs peering in through its clerestories to get access), one thing is certain: James Forsyth has a tendency to trail off, Fraser Nelson is extremely soft-spoken, and Katy Balls/Cindy Yu/Isabel Hardman are right on the money with their voices. For the love of God PLEASE GET A FUNCTIONAL MICROPHONE! I am an avid listener of the show, but the sound editing/equipment could use some TLC so I’m not constantly rewinding to catch something.
Full of insight.