Podcast

Coffee House Shots

Instant political analysis from the Spectator’s top team of writers, including Fraser Nelson, Katy Balls, Isabel Hardman, Cindy Yu, Kate Andrews and many others.

Instant political analysis from the Spectator’s top team of writers, including Fraser Nelson, Katy Balls, Isabel Hardman, Cindy Yu, Kate Andrews and many others.

Coffee House Shots

Sunak: let’s bring back national service

The first big new policy announcement of the election campaign is in from the Tories, and it’s likely to be a talker. Where Keir Starmer appears to be opting for a ‘ming vase’ strategy – trying not to rock the boat ahead of polling day – the Tories are leaning towards the opposite. At 20

Play 17 mins

Coffee House Shots

What does a July election mean for the SNP?

We have spoken a lot on the podcast this week about how a July election could be disastrous for the Conservatives, but what about the SNP? With arrests, investigations, resignations and a recent leadership change, it looks as though a snap election couldn’t come at a worse time for the Scottish nationalists. Katy Balls speaks

Play 12 mins

Coffee House Shots

What’s behind the Tory exodus?

It’s day four of the election campaign, and Michael Gove has joined the growing Tory exodus and announced he’s standing down at the election. What’s behind his decision, and how will it affect Rishi Sunak? Megan McElroy speaks to Fraser Nelson and Katy Balls.  Produced by Megan McElroy.

Play 11 mins

Coffee House Shots

Is the Labour lead as big as it seems?

Both major party leaders are hitting the road today and campaigning in Scotland, which will be a major battleground in the coming election. Labour looks comfortably in the lead, but is that number accurate to what’s happening on the ground? Cindy Yu and Katy Balls talk to Focaldata’s James Kanagasooriam about their latest analysis. Produced

Play 13 mins

Coffee House Shots

Why has the election been called now?

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

Play 15 mins

Coffee House Shots

Sunak’s biggest gamble yet: a July election

Rishi Sunak has called a general election on July 4. A new parliament will be summoned on 9 July and the state opening will be on 17 July. Is a summer election a wise decision? Katy Balls and James Heale discuss from parliament. Produced by Natasha Feroze.

Play 12 mins

Coffee House Shots

Is an election about to be called?

Westminster is awash with rumours today that the Prime Minister is about to call an election. On this episode, Cindy Yu talks to Katy Balls and Fraser Nelson about where this speculation is coming from and how seriously to take them. Produced by Cindy Yu.

Play 11 mins

Coffee House Shots

Is there finally good news for the government?

The IMF has upgraded the 2024 economic forecast for the UK. What does this mean for the Government and could more good news follow this week? And, with speeches on tax, benefit crackdowns and tackling anti-semitism, what should we make of all this political activity? Will we see the return of ‘the hot lectern guy’?

Play 11 mins

Coffee House Shots

Infected blood scandal was ‘no accident’, says report

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’.

Play 17 mins

Coffee House Shots

The whips’ office and their woes

There have been two recent defections from the Conservatives to Labour. There’s lots of chatter in parliament about a potential third defector. In this Saturday edition of Coffee House Shots, Katy Balls and James Heale hear from Gyles Brandreth, former MP and broadcaster. He takes us back to what it was like working in the

Play 18 mins

Coffee House Shots

Can Hunt answer the Reagan question?

Ronald Reagan famously asked voters: ‘are you better off than you were four years ago?’ At the next election, the Tories face a public thinking over the last fourteen years. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt gave a speech today defending the UK’s record tax levels and attacking Labour’s economic plans. But who should we trust more on

Play 11 mins

Coffee House Shots

Has Starmer scaled down his pledges?

Keir Starmer has unveiled his six election pledges. In a nod to Tony Blair’s 1997 election card, the Labour leader has announced key promises to the public should they win the election. How are the commitments being received, and what will the impact of his speech be?  James Heale speaks to Katy Balls and Stephen

Play 13 mins

Coffee House Shots

Starmer fluffs his lines at PMQs

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

Play 11 mins

Coffee House Shots

Is Natalie Elphicke an unlikely hero?

Lucy Dunn speaks to Katy Balls and former Blair advisor John McTernan about the one vote that won plans to exclude MPs from parliament arrested on suspicion of serious sexual offence. After Keir Starmer faced criticism for allowing her into the party, could some of her greatest critics now see the perks? Also is Labour

Play 15 mins

Coffee House Shots

Will Sunak’s fighting talk work?

Rishi Sunak delivered a pre-election speech this morning setting out the dividing lines at the next election: security with the Tories or risk with Labour. Will it be enough to shift the dial? And is the Natalie Elphicke defection still haunting Keir Starmer? Natasha Feroze speaks to Katy Balls and Fraser Nelson. 

Play 12 mins

Coffee House Shots

Can John Swinney turn it around for the SNP?

John Swinney, newly inaugurated First Minister of Scotland and Leader of the SNP, has been in the job for a week. What have we learnt since he took up the job, and can he turn things around for the party in time for a general election?  James Heale speaks to Lucy Dunn and Fergus Mutch,

Play

Coffee House Shots

The UK leaves recession – but is it too late for the Tories?

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirmed this morning that the UK confined its technical recession to 2023. The economy grew by 0.6 per cent in the first three months of the year, thanks in large part to stronger-than-expected growth in March, which reached 0.4 per cent. But is the plan really working?  Also on

Play 10 mins

Coffee House Shots

Can Lammy charm Trump?

This week, shadow foreign secretary David Lammy is stateside, meeting with senior advisors to Donald Trump and hoping to charm them. Meanwhile, David Cameron gives his first set-piece policy speech. Who is the more credible statesman? Cindy Yu talks to James Heale and Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform. Produced by Cindy

Play 14 mins

Coffee House Shots

Why does Labour want Natalie Elphicke?

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

Play 12 mins

Coffee House Shots

Will there really be a hung parliament?

It’s the first day back after the local elections. Following Thursday’s results, some polling suggests that if the votes were replicated in a general election, there might be a hung parliament. Could this be a reality?  The Spectator’s James Heale and Katy Balls are joined by Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta.  Produced by

Play 14 mins

Coffee House Shots

What does Andy Street’s defeat mean for Rishi Sunak?

The local elections results are in, and the Conservatives have lost more than 450 council seats. After a full recount, Labour’s Richard Parker beat Andy Street to become West Midlands mayor, with only around 1500 votes in it. What does his loss mean for Rishi Sunak, and where do the overall results leave him? Katy

Play

Coffee House Shots

Have the Tories avoided a local election catastrophe?

Rishi Sunak can breathe a (small) sigh of relief. Ben Houchen, the so-called ‘patron saint of the red wall’, has won a third term as Tees Valley mayor. Houchen secured 53.6 per cent of the vote with Labour in second place with 41.3 per cent, despite some polls in advance suggesting it was neck-and-neck between

Play 10 mins

Coffee House Shots

Labour triumphs in Blackpool as Tories suffer heavy losses

It’s looking like the worst night for the Conservatives in 40 years. The prediction – that the Tories will lose about half of the council seats they are defending – looks on track so far. Labour comfortably won the Blackpool South by-election with a 26 per cent swing and it has also taken several key

Play 14 mins

Coffee House Shots

Can Ben Houchen save Rishi Sunak?

Tomorrow, voters go to the polls for the last set of local elections in this parliament, alongside 11 mayoral elections in England, 37 police and crime commissioner elections in England and Wales plus the London Assembly elections. Could Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Mayor, help turn Rishi Sunak’s fortunes around? You can read James Heale’s assessment

Play 12 mins

Coffee House Shots

Will the Tories’ mental health focus backfire?

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

Play 17 mins

Coffee House Shots

Humza Yousaf quits – what next?

Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf has just announced his intention to resign. Lucy Dunn speaks to Katy Balls and Spectator contributor Iain Macwhirter about how the past few weeks have led to this point and what to expect from an SNP leadership contest.

Play 14 mins

Coffee House Shots

Can Starmer do patriotism?

It was St George’s Day this week, and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he has ‘no time’ for those who ‘flinch’ at the St George’s flag. But how authentic is his patriotism? Katy Balls speaks to Tom Baldwin, former Labour Party adviser and author of new book England: Seven Myths That Changed a Country –

Play 13 mins

Coffee House Shots

Can Humza Yousaf hang on?

Humza Yousaf faces the biggest crisis of his leadership to date – with his fate in the hands of former SNP leadership rival Ash Regan. Will Humza step down before he is pushed? Or is there a narrow gap through which the First Minister can fight on? Lucy Dunn speaks to Fraser Nelson and Katy

Play 11 mins

Coffee House Shots

Is this the beginning of the end for Humza Yousaf?

After two and a half years in government together, Humza Yousaf has terminated the SNP’s governing pact with the Scottish Greens. The decision was rubber stamped at a hastily arranged meeting of the Scottish cabinet on Thursday morning. It preempts a vote by rank-and-file Green members on whether to walk away from Yousaf’s government after he ditched

Play 15 mins

Coffee House Shots

Has Angela Rayner redeemed herself?

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.

Play 10 mins