Coffee house shots

Coffee House Shots: What’s in Philip Hammond’s Budget box?

There has been precious little excitement surrounding Wednesday’s budget announcement, which will be Philip Hammond’s first as Chancellor. The man nicknamed ‘Spreadsheet Phil’ has played down expectations, indicating from the off that he will leave major announcements to the new Autumn Budget. But whilst casual observers may find Wednesday less scintillating than under George Osborne, anticipated revisions to education, business rates and social care will still significantly affect the country’s fiscal position. On this episode of Coffee House Shots, Fraser Nelson is joined by James Forsyth and Isabel Hardman to shine a light through the gloaming of Hammond’s caution. And if you enjoyed this edition of Coffee House Shots, please subscribe on iTunes to get the best

Coffee House Shots: Theresa May outlines her Brexit plans

In front of a packed audience at Lancaster House, Theresa May delivered a speech outlining some of the key components of the Brexit deal that she is seeking. As Fraser Nelson dissects in his piece, there was confirmation of the UK’s exit from the single market and customs union, along with other telling hints about her negotiating strategy. Isabel Hardman is joined on Coffee House Shots by Fraser and James Forsyth, the Spectator’s Political Editor, to pick out the essential soundbites from May’s speech, which opened, not unlike the Spectator’s Brexit endorsement, by encouraging the UK to go ‘out, into the world’. You can listen to their discussion here: And if you enjoyed that,

Coffee House Shots: Jeremy Corbyn’s first interview of 2017

Ahead of a scheduled speech later on Tuesday, Jeremy Corbyn appeared on the Today Programme to outline the ideas he would be presenting in the afternoon. The Labour leader, however, veered somewhat off message, stating his support for a ‘maximum earnings limit’ and replacing the party’s new line – that they are ‘not wedded to freedom of movement for EU citizens as a point of principle’ – with a rambling condemnation of worker exploitation. He also made it clear, if you hadn’t realised already, that he’s here for the long haul, telling John Humphrys that he has ‘a mandate to take the campaign to every part of the country –

Coffee House Shots: The verdict on Theresa May’s conference speech

Theresa May has brought the curtain down on this year’s Tory party conference with a speech in which she made a snatch for the centre ground. The Prime Minister pledged to stick up for the working class and went on the attack against the ‘sneering elite’, who May said looked down on others. But how successful was her speech? And did it tell us anything more about May? On the Spectator’s Coffee House Shots podcast, James Forsyth says: I think she is keener on the state than most Conservatives are. I think there was a lot of aim taken at the liberal elite. There was a lot of vicar’s daughter

Coffee House Shots: Philip Hammond’s conference speech

Philip Hammond is the unlikely headline act of the day at the Conservative party conference. The Chancellor used his speech to row back on his predecessor George Osborne’s plan to cut the deficit and also promised to up spending. But Hammond also had some words of warning about Brexit. He said that while the referendum vote marked the ‘beginning of a new age’, there was no room for complacency as he pledged to prepare Britain for possible turbulence ahead. So how did his speech go down? James Forsyth, who was in the hall listening, has this to say on the podcast: ‘Philip Hammond isn’t a classical orator. This was not

Coffee House Shots: Theresa May’s big Brexit speech

The Conservative party conference has started and Theresa May has kick-started this year’s gathering with her big speech on Brexit. The Prime Minister revealed earlier that Article 50 will be triggered by March next year. And when she took to the stage in Birmingham, she offered up a few more small glimmers about her Brexit plan. James Forsyth was in the hall to listen to the speech and he said the PM did her best not to talk about ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ Brexit. But was she successful? ‘I thought what was interesting about it was that she tried to say that this soft and hard Brexit distinction is wrong. But

Coffee House Shots: The verdict on Jeremy Corbyn’s conference speech

Labour conference is over for 2016 and it concluded with a barnstorming speech from Jeremy Corbyn. After rumours that he would only be speaking for half an hour, Corbyn addressed the audience for almost an hour, receiving a rapturous ovation in the conference hall, along with unified approval from Labour MPs. Andy Burnham called it a ‘strong speech’, whilst even Chuka Umunna had praise for Corbyn’s economic policies, calling them ‘well put’. The analysis from The Spectator’s Isabel Hardman was also positive, as she told the podcast: “I thought it was a much better speech than the rambling one he gave last year. He had two clear aims. One was to say to his

Coffee House Shots: Labour conference’s uneasy peace

Labour’s conference is well underway but the mood so far is far from lively. Rather than rallying around their newly re-elected leader, for many who have gathered at the party’s annual conference the atmosphere is somewhat gloomy. So whilst Jeremy Corbyn promised to ‘wipe the slate clean’ following his re-election, can the Labour party learn to forgive and forget? Isabel Hardman says on this Coffee House Shots episode that so far an uneasy peace is prevailing. But only just…: ‘I was sort of expecting it to be this bitter bunfight where people were shouting at each other and that hasn’t happened so far. But we’ve only had one night where people have

Coffee House shots: David Cameron quits backbenches and Witney

David Cameron chose a rather blustery Oxfordshire afternoon to announce that he was stepping down as MP for Witney with ‘immediate effect’. Cameron had previously suggested that he would stay on in Parliament, telling the BBC it was ‘very much [his] intention’ to continue as an MP. Pundits have linked Cameron’s surprise u-turn to Theresa May’s announcements about grammar schools at the end of last week, which undermined a key feature of Cameron’s social policy. So what should we make of this move? And where does it leave May and the remaining Cameroons in the Commons? In this edition of Coffee House shots, Fraser Nelson tells Isabel Hardman that: ‘I guess

Coffee House shots: Is Theresa May right to expand grammar schools?

With her first major speech since standing on the steps of No. 10, Theresa May has set out plans to radically reform the education system. Introduced by new Education Secretary Justine Greening, May outlined overhauls to the grammar school system, offering expansion to existing ones and giving state schools the opportunity to select. Her policy ambitions also touched on allowing faith schools to be filled entirely on grounds of religion. And she wants to make private schools justify their charitable status. But how revolutionary are these plans? And are selective schools really the way to go? On today’s edition of the Coffee House shots podcast, Fraser Nelson is joined by James Forsyth who says: ‘Following the reforms

Theresa May’s stilted second PMQs performance

If the purpose of the first few Prime Minister’s Questions sessions that a new leader faces is to assert their authority, both over the Opposition and their new party, then Theresa May managed that today. She didn’t do it with a great deal of panache, though: the Prime Minister was much less fluent and confident today than she was in her all-conquering first stint at the Dispatch Box before the summer. Her scripted jokes sounded a little less comfortable and natural, too. But she managed to give good responses to Jeremy Corbyn’s rambling questions, particularly this little lecture about the differences between the two of them: ‘I say to the

Labour members win court case on leadership contest

Isabel Hardman and Lara Prendergast discuss what’s next for Labour: Could Labour hold its autumn conference without a confirmed leader? The party’s QC is to appeal this morning’s High Court decision that it cannot have a six month freeze date for members voting in the leadership contest, and this could delay the contest between Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith. Five new Labour members won their case against the party’s application of a six month freeze on eligibility to vote. If the election is delayed, and Labour has no leader in the autumn, which is when political parties and leaders traditionally fire up their grassroots and show how strong their authority

Coffee House Shots: Ukip’s leadership contest

Ukip’s leadership race has barely begun but the contest has already delivered plenty of drama. The frontrunner Steven Woolfe missed out on entering his nomination in time after a ‘Computer says no’ moment, and it’s also emerged that Woolfe failed to declare a drink-driving conviction when he ran for office in 2012 – potentially breaching electoral rules. But whilst we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out whether Woolfe actually makes it on to the ballot paper, a number of other candidates are also vying to take over from Nigel Farage: Ukip MEPs Jonathan Arnott and Bill Etheridge and Diane James amongst them. So who will come out on top? In this edition

Bill Clinton tries to solve Hillary’s inauthenticity problem. Did it work?

So there we have it: Bill has backed his ‘best friend’ and wife Hillary Clinton for President. That he would do so was never in doubt, of course, but the words he used are what matters. He started his yarn with a tale of courtship: ‘In the year of 1971, I met a girl’. Bill went on to talk of how he first wooed his wife by following her around and started ‘something I couldn’t stop’. But this wasn’t a speech about the former President’s dating techniques. Instead, Bill was trying to reveal the answer to a somewhat less exciting if not frequently discussed question: who is the real Hillary?

Terror in France: priest murdered in Normandy church ‘in name of’ Isis

Following a hostage situation at a church in northern France, two armed men and one hostage have been killed. The slain hostage was Rev. Jacques Hamel, an elderly priest, and Le Figaro reports that the hostage takers ‘slit’ his throat while he was giving mass.  The other hostages included two nuns and two worshippers. The French president, François Hollande, and the interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, visited Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, where the attack happened. Speaking at the site, Hollande said the attack was a ‘cowardly assassination’ carried out by ‘by two terrorists in the name of Daesh’. It also appears that one of the attackers tried to get to Syria, but was deported back to France, where he served

Coffee House Shots: Owen Smith’s ‘Mission-bloody-difficult’

Jeremy Corbyn is the clear favourite to win the Labour leadership battle, if yesterday’s YouGov poll is anything to go on. But now that Angela Eagle has dropped out of the race, is it just possible that Owen Smith might unite the anti-Corbyn vote and oust Jeremy? In this Coffee House Shots podcast, Fraser Nelson is joined by Isabel Hardman and YouGov’s Marcus Roberts to discuss what chance Owen Smith has in this race. Marcus Roberts tells Fraser Nelson that: ‘It’s not Mission Impossible – but it is a Mission Bloody Difficult, to put it mildly. What Owen Smith has to do now is to appeal – not just to

Angela Eagle pulls out of Labour leadership contest

In the past few minutes, Angela Eagle has pulled out of the Labour leadership contest, citing insufficient nominations in the race with Owen Smith. ‘I’m withdrawing from this race and supporting Owen with all of my enthusiasm and might,’ she told reporters in Parliament’s Central Lobby. This means that Labour now has its unity candidate to fight Jeremy Corbyn, and even those MPs who feel rather politically distant from Owen Smith will have to pull behind him in the name of dislodging Jeremy Corbyn. Supporters of Eagle will be angry that she took all the political heat and abuse for sticking her neck out first and triggering the contest, but

Cindy Yu

Coffee House shots: the doomed Labour leadership challenge

Support for leadership contenders Angela Eagle and Owen Smith are roughly evenly split within the party – though all involved agree that only one can go forward if the party is to have any chance of purging Corbyn. But in this Coffee House shots podcast, James Forsyth tells Fraser Nelson that there might not even be a point to the contest: ‘The real news this morning is this YouGov poll which suggests that Jeremy Corbyn is on course to beat either of them – and quite comfortably.’ But if the Labour party is unsuccessful in purging Corbyn, then the party faces mass deselection of MPs at best, and the death of the

Nice attack: Quiet shock reigns on the city’s streets

Nice is quiet today, moving a little slower than it was yesterday, but it still moves. There is a strange disconnect between the way a city that has fallen victim to an horrific terror attack looks on television, and how it feels to those moving around it. Even somewhere that has seen such a terrible number of deaths in the middle of a lovely, gentle family event which had been filled with smiles and the oohs and ahhs of a firework display then looks surprisingly normal the following day. People were of course still going to work and buying coffee this morning, just with slightly blank expressions on their faces,

Theresa May’s Cabinet reshuffle in full

Theresa May has now finished the task of appointing her Cabinet. Here’s the list in full of who is in, who is out and who stayed put: Theresa May: Prime Minister (was Home Secretary) Philip Hammond: Chancellor (was Foreign Secretary) Boris Johnson: Foreign Secretary (was Minister without Portfolio) Amber Rudd: Home Secretary (was Energy Secretary) Michael Fallon: Defence Secretary (stays in his role) Liam Fox: International Trade Secretary (new entry) David Davis: Brexit Secretary (new entry) Liz Truss: Justice Secretary (was Environment Secretary) Justine Greening: Education Secretary (was Secretary of state for International Development) Jeremy Hunt: Health Secretary (stays in his role) Damian Green: Work and Pensions Secretary Chris Grayling: Transport