Rishi sunak

Sex and the shires: Plum Sykes reveals all

‘I looked at a picture of him today and thought: “Why are you wearing those expensive clothes, you twit?”’ Plum Sykes is in the Claridge’s ArtSpace Café, eating the avocado on toast and talking about Rishi Sunak. ‘He looks like he’s wearing handmade shoes, which is a real no-no – a real no-no! But he can’t stop himself.’ ‘People want to be Martha Stewart, Carole Bamford. I’m not sure they want to be Meghan Markle’ David Cameron would never be so gauche, says Plum. ‘In fact, I remember asking David about that and he said he’d never wear a custom-made suit on the campaign trail because it sends the wrong

Letters: the Tory party has gone mad

Right is wrong Sir: Katy Balls’s article ‘Survival Plan’ (4 May) starts from a false premise. The problem is not Rishi Sunak, but the current Conservative party’s underlying ethos. With Brexit, the lunatics took over the asylum. The ‘Get Brexit Done’ single-issue election resulted in a Conservative party, cabinet and parliamentary majority sharing populist right-wing views and convinced that the country supported them in all their beliefs. Although Brexit has clearly failed and Boris Johnson has been disposed of, many of the underlying convictions associated with the Brexit philosophy remain. The obvious demonstration of this was the disastrous election of Liz Truss as leader despite the common sense warnings of

Toby Young

Do voters really prefer Starmer?

Rishi Sunak has been widely ridiculed for trying to spin the local election results as bad news for Keir Starmer. While acknowledging they were ‘bitterly disappointing’ for the Tories, the Prime Minister cited an analysis by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher, the renowned psephologists, showing that a similar showing by Labour in a general election would leave the party 32 seats short of an overall majority. ‘Keir Starmer propped up in Downing Street by the SNP, Liberal Democrats and the Greens would be a disaster for Britain,’ he said. This was wishful thinking, according to John Curtice, the polling expert. He pointed out that the way people vote in local elections

Sunak’s Truss problem

11 min listen

The day after her book was published, Rishi Sunak faced down questions from Keir Starmer and Labour members at PMQs about Liz Truss. While he had his replies at the ready, the questions underscored the main issue for Sunak: how should he deal with his predecessor?  Also on the podcast, there is more inflation news for the Government, and how will Starmer deal with internal party discipline? James Heale speaks to Katy Balls and Isabel Hardman. Produced by Oscar Edmondson.

Is Cameron upstaging Sunak?

The logic behind Rishi Sunak’s decision to make David Cameron foreign secretary was that he would be a ‘big beast’ on the world stage and wouldn’t need much instruction. Six months on, that plan is going reasonably well, insofar as Cameron appears to be setting his own agenda. It also means he’s making his own mistakes. In February, his foray into US politics misfired when, in an article for the website the Hill, he appeared to lecture Americans about support for Ukraine, telling them not to show the ‘weakness displayed against Hitler’. A key Donald Trump ally, Marjorie Taylor Greene, responded that ‘David Cameron can kiss my ass’. This week,

The Tories are resigned to an almighty defeat

The herd of Conservative MPs is on the move again, this time obediently setting off towards the abattoir in which the careers of most will meet a grisly end. When historians come to write their accounts of the Conservative administrations of 2015-24, they will have a bewildering variety of ‘worst weeks’ to choose from, but the past seven days will have a strong claim to mark the moment when the fight went out of the parliamentary Conservative party and it became resigned to its fate. Rishi Sunak achieved one thing of note this week Two MRP polls with huge samples offering the possibility of constituency-level projections have offered a new

Could Jonathan Gullis be another Lee Anderson?

11 min listen

After the resignations of two ministers last night, No. 10 carried out a mini reshuffle, which included some controversial decisions. In particular, the appointment of the outspoken Red Wall MP Jonathan Gullis had some questioning whether Rishi Sunak was making another Lee Anderson-style mistake. James Heale talks to Katy Balls and former editor of Conservative Home, Paul Goodman. Produced by Cindy Yu and Patrick Gibbons.

Can the Tories avoid oblivion?

Another day, another terrible poll for the Tories – the latest YouGov survey records support for the parties at Labour 46 per cent, Conservative 20 per cent, Reform 14 per cent, Lib Dem 7 per cent, Green 7 per cent. So far, so normal for our beleaguered governing party – even if Reform has nudged up another point to its record-ever showing. Six points between the Cons and Reform looks to me like the sort of margin that could be wiped out altogether were Nigel Farage to take the helm of the challenger party. The Labour lead and vote share is so commanding that the current response of many Tory

The Trumpification of the Tory party

Anthony Scaramucci, Donald Trump’s former director of communications, has a phrase that sums up his old boss’s effect on political debate: ‘the universe bends towards him’. In the US, discussion about this year’s election is all about Trump. But he is exerting the same gravitational pull in Britain, both on the Tories as they face opposition, and Labour as it mulls the likely dilemmas of government. Trump is resentful of those who have been ‘nasty’ about him: this includes nearly everyone in the Labour party Theresa May offers a case study in how not to deal with Trump. She hoped to befriend him and acquire some kind of post-Brexit trade

Lee Anderson suspended: what now?

Lee Anderson has been suspended from the Conservative party this afternoon after saying on GB News that Islamists controlled Sadiq Khan. Will Rishi Sunak miss having the Ashfield MP in his party? Will Anderson join reform? Max Jeffery speaks to Fraser Nelson and Katy Balls.

Could Britain have a farmers’ revolt?

Nine years ago, when Rishi Sunak was campaigning to be the Conservative candidate for Richmond in Yorkshire, he knew his background wouldn’t work in his favour. Here was a millionaire City slicker – fresh from a spell in Silicon Valley – standing in a rural safe seat against local rivals. William Hague, who was retiring from the seat, told him he’d need to do a crash course in country living. Sunak replied that he’d milk some cows right away. Now, the Prime Minister takes great pride in his familiarity with rural issues. He cites hill farming as a passion and boasts to friends of his ‘deep knowledge of sheep’. The

Inside the plot to take down Rishi Sunak

42 min listen

Welcome to a slightly new format for the Edition podcast! Each week will be talking about the magazine – as per usual – but trying to give a little more insight into the process behind putting The Spectator to bed each week.  On the podcast: The Spectator’s political editor Katy Balls writes our cover story this week about ‘the plot’ to oust Rishi Sunak. When former culture secretary Nadine Dorries made the claim in her book that a secret cabal of advisors were responsible for taking down prime ministers, she was laughed at. But with shadowy backroom fixers assembling to try and take down the prime minister, did she have a point? Katy joins

Are the Houthi strikes working?

12 min listen

The UK launched a new set of strikes on eight Houthi targets last night. Typoon jets dropped £30,000 Paveway bombs on an underground storage site and surveillance and missile capabilities controlled by the Yemeni rebel group. But are the strikes working? The Houthis have continued to attack ships in the Red Sea, and a row has also started about whether government properly briefed Keir Starmer and Sir Lindsay Hoyle. Max Jeffery speaks to Katy Balls and Isabel Hardman.

Why few voters like Sunak

14 min listen

New polling from JL Partners shows how Rishi Sunak has changed, in the eyes of the public. They found that while Sunak was initially seen as a direct ‘breath of fresh air’, he is now frequently described as ‘out of touch’, ‘spineless’ and ‘false’. To discuss what went wrong for the PM, James Heale and Katy Balls are joined by James Johnson, the co-founder of JL Partners.

Portrait of the week: Elgin Marbles madness, Israel/Hamas ceasefire and Oscar Pistorius freed

Home Net migration reached a record 745,000 last year, the Office for National Statistics said, 139,000 higher than the 606,000 it had previously given. Robert Jenrick, the minister for immigration, was reported to be ‘pressuring’ No. 10 with ideas for cutting immigration, such as by making a minimum salary of £35,000 a requirement for a work visa. Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, had agreed with Suella Braverman, when she was home secretary, to raise the salary requirement to £40,000, according to a copy of their agreement seen by the Telegraph. Eight small boats carried 364 migrants to England on 26 November. Caolan Gormley, 26, from Co. Tyrone, was found guilty at the

Portrait of the week: tax cuts, hostage releases and highly rated horses

Home Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, said, ‘We can now move on to the next phase of our economic plan and turn our attention to cutting taxes,’ having seen a reduction in inflation. Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, followed suit in the Autumn Statement, cutting personal taxes. The government was to make changes to long-term benefits. The minimum wage, known officially as the National Living Wage, currently £10.42 an hour for those over the age of 23, will rise to £11.44 an hour for those over 21 from next April. The government also drew attention to £8.3 billion allocated to mending potholes, money purportedly saved from the curtailment

The Rishification of the Tory party

When David Cameron arrived at the Foreign Office on Monday, he told staff he might be a bit rusty when it comes to modern politics. He joked that the only WhatsApp group he is in ‘is to do with my children’s school play’. Cameron may have been out of frontline politics for a while, but the rules stay the same. As Tory leader, he championed his favourites and promoted his supporters to the cabinet table, even at the expense of ignoring older colleagues’ claims. This week, his successor has done the same. A trio of thirtysomething former special advisers elected in 2019 now comprise the Prime Minister’s Praetorian Guard. Laura

How has the Conservative party’s ‘Dr No’ escaped everyone’s notice for so long?

The reason conspiracy theories are so resilient, reproducing themselves from one generation to another, is that they are unfalsifiable. Evidence against them, however solid, has obviously been faked. Anyone who tries to demonstrate that Americans did land on the moon or that J.F. Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald is obviously in the pay of people who stand to benefit. If you ask who those people are, since there seems to be no evidence of their existence, the answer is always the same: they are very good at concealing themselves. And so the theory finds credulous punters. To save time, I should probably point out that The Spectator, which

Portrait of the week: Met in a muddle, King’s Speech and a wine production slump 

Home Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, said of pro-Palestinian demonstrations: ‘To plan protests on Armistice Day is provocative and disrespectful, and there is a clear and present risk that the Cenotaph and other war memorials could be desecrated.’ The Metropolitan Police urged organisers of a pro-Palestinian march on 11 November to postpone it, but they refused. The Prime Minister then said he would hold the Metropolitan Police Commissioner ‘accountable’ for his decision to greenlight the ‘disrespectful’ demonstration. Imran Hussain MP left the Labour front bench over Sir Keir Starmer’s opposition to a ceasefire in Gaza, and Afrasiab Anwar, the leader of Burnley council, and ten councillors left the Labour party.

Katy Balls

Rishi and Suella’s fates hinge on the Rwanda ruling

The first King’s Speech for more than 70 years was a festival of the expected: the royal reading of a No. 10 press release. Some dividing lines were drawn between the Tories and Labour and some loose ends tied up – but there was no real change in political direction. ‘It’s a continuance of the direction and path we are on,’ explained a senior government figure. ‘The most inspiring thing Rishi has done is refusing to endorse Braverman’s comments’ But if current polls are any indicator, to continue in the same direction means a landslide Labour victory and a Tory defeat of historic proportions at the next election. ‘It won’t