These are tumultuous times in UK politics. Government is under strain, the civil service is under pressure, and ministers are grappling with the fallout of Covid, the impact of Brexit and an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis. So where is government working well and what is it doing badly? What can be done to make No10, the Treasury and the rest of government function more effectively? And as a general election draws ever nearer, what are the key political and policy dividing lines – and what do they mean for the way this country is run?
Get behind the scenes in Westminster, Whitehall and beyond on the weekly podcast from Britain’s leading governmental think tank, where we analyse the latest events in politics and explain what they mean. Every week on INSIDE BRIEFING, IfG director Hannah White and the team welcome special guests for a free-ranging conversation on what makes government work – and how to fix it when it doesn’t.
Was this Rishi Sunak's worst week yet?
Robert Jenrick has resigned as immigration minister, former home secretary Suella Braverman says the Rwanda Bill will lose the Conservatives the next election, and the prime minister has been forced hold an emergency – and rather tetchy – press conference to defend his plan. So how big a crisis is this row over immigration for the government? Paul Waugh, the i paper’s chief political commentator, joins the podcast team to look back on a very tricky week for Rishi Sunak.
After much build-up, plenty of briefings to the press, and hundreds of missing WhatsApp messages, Boris Johnson this week appeared before the Covid inquiry. So what are we learning – if anything – about his government’s handling of the pandemic. And Keir Starmer made a big speech on the economy this week and also got into knots when he praised Margaret Thatcher for bringing in “meaningful change” as prime minister. So just how prepared Labour for a big year ahead?
Hannah White presents, with Alex Thomas and Jill Rutter. Produced by Milo Hynes.
Sunak’s Captain Marble act falls flat
Nobody predicted a massive diplomatic bust-up with Greece, so is Rishi Sunak losing his marbles? PoliticsHome editor Laura Silver joins the podcast team to catch up on the extraordinary row over the Elgin Marbles.
Access talks – the moment that opposition parties begin meeting the civil service ahead of a general election – haven’t started yet, but the pressure is building. So what happens next and how important are they?
Cabinet secretary Simon Case is still on medical leave – but what does his absence mean for how the government is functioning?
A restless gaggle of Conservative backbenchers, and even some frontbenchers, are waiting for Rishi Sunak’s new plan to get his Rwanda asylum flights off the ground. So what could the prime minister’s scheme look like and what are its next steps in Parliament?
Hannah White presents, with Alex Thomas, Alice Lilly and Alex Thomas. Produced by Candice McKenzie.
Autumn Statement of Intent?
Jeremy Hunt has framed the autumn statement as the biggest tax cut in British history, but do the chancellor's sums add up? The podcast team crunch the numbers and discuss what Hunt's big day in Parliament told us about the state of the economy, what the government is trying to do, and when the next general election might take place.
Giles Winn, a former Treasury special adviser, joins the podcast team to reveal what really goes into planning a big fiscal statement - and trying to secure a set of positive headlines.
Cath Haddon presents
With Gemma Tetlow and Giles Wilkes
Produced by Candice McKenzie.
Sunak's flights of fantasy?
The Supreme Court's verdict has left the government's Rwanda asylum policy in tatters - but Rishi Sunak says he has a plan to get planes taking off by the spring. So what is the prime minister proposing, and is there any chance it will work?
That won't be a job for Suella Braverman, with the controversial now ex-home secretary the biggest loser in this week's reshuffle. The biggest winner was David Cameron, who surprised everyone with his return as foreign secretary. Francis Elliott, editor of the House Magazine and Cameron's first biographer, joins the podcast to run the rule over the reshuffle and weigh up Sunak's Rwanda scheme.
Plus: How big a problem did this week's resignations create for Keir Starmer?
Emma Norris presents, with Jill Rutter and Rhys Clyne.
Presented by Milo Hynes.
LIGHTS! CAMERON! RESHUFFLE ACTION!
The reshuffle rumour mill went into overdrive over the weekend, and on Monday morning Rishi Sunak kicked off a day of sackings - and surprise appointments. So the IfG team wolfed down their breakfasts, raced to the office, and assembled in the podcast studio for an emergency recording of Inside Briefing.
Who is in and who is out? What does this reshuffle tell us about how Rishi Sunak wants to govern - and how he plans to fight the general election? And is David Cameron’s return to the Cabinet a masterstroke or a desperate roll of the dice?
Hannah White presents with Jill Rutter, Cath Haddon and Tim Durrant.
Produced by Milo Hynes
The Suella/Sunak Stand-Off
The King’s Speech on Tuesday meant a day of dashing uniforms and galloping horses, but was there anything of substance behind the pomp and ceremony? The Sun’s Noa Hoffman is this week’s podcast guest as the Inside Briefing team weigh up the legislative agenda on offer from Rishi Sunak.
The home secretary is in the news. When isn’t she? We unpick Suella Braverman’s rows with the country’s most senior policeman and ask how Rishi Sunak handles an increasingly outspoken member of his cabinet. And the Covid inquiry is in the news. When isn’t it? We’ll catch up on the latest evidence sessions. Hannah White presents with Alex Thomas and Cath Haddon.
Produced by Milo Hynes.
Some of the more lively, well-informed, and engaging talk on politics I’ve heard—mostly British, of course, but with broad implications everywhere: influence peddling and conflicts of interest, nations splitting apart...listen up, Americans!