Robert peston

Suspicious circumstances abound in the latest crime fiction

The old adage that everyone has a novel in them has a new version: anyone can write a thriller. Celebrity helps, of course, and Bill and Hillary Clinton are exemplars of the trend, though each has had the sense to draw on professional assistance and the grace to acknowledge it. Closer to home, Britain has spawned its own unexpected authors, led by Richard Osman with his astonishing successful The Thursday Murder Club. Now Alan Johnson, the former Labour MP and cabinet minister, joins the club with The Late Train to Gipsy Hill (Headline, £16.99), his first foray into fiction. He arrives with impressive credentials, however, having published three excellent volumes

We can’t see the wood for the trees

I was relieved to discover, earlier this week, that the Prime Minister’s special adviser, Dominic Cummings, was a symbol of inequality in modern Britain. Relieved because I have been scouring the country for such a symbol for ages and had hitherto not succeeded in finding one. Cummings is just that symbol, according to Robert Peston, because his father has a garden with some trees in it. Cummings was thus able to walk through these trees, whereas people who do not have fathers with a garden with some trees in it are not able to do so. Privileged bastard. There is, however, one small problem. If Robert were to take a

Inside the relationship between politicians and the media

Global system breakdown has defined all our lives for 13 years. From the banking system’s boom and bust to the rise of a new anti-globalisation, the populist generation of politician and political leader, to the mounting cost of global warming, to the exponentially charged proliferation of a jumping-the-species virus.  There is definitely no sleep till Brooklyn, or for the wicked. And we have a choice, as people, as nations, as culture. We can try to understand what is happening in a balanced, calm, rational, scientific way and rebuild some sense of control over our destiny. Or we can continue shouting at each other, in social media’s Tower of Babel, and

We will find out in a few days whether Brexit will happen

There is probably now just a week or so from the end of the Tory conference for Boris Johnson to make a breakthrough on a Brexit deal, or for talks to end. Why? Well, government sources tell me the EU Commission has been told by British negotiators in no uncertain terms that Johnson will not quit to avoid being forced by the Benn Act to ask for a Brexit delay. And Brussels was also told that if Johnson is still prime minister on October 19, he will find a way to get round the law and refuse to ask for a delay. So Barnier and Juncker have literally no time to decide

Peston’s BBC gaffe

When Robert Peston left the BBC to join the ITV as political editor, his former BBC colleagues placed a sign outside their press room at Tory conference making it clear that he was no longer welcome. But is Peston looking for a way back? At Theresa May’s speech today on Brexit, Peston asked a question – and introduced himself as ‘Robert Peston from the BBC’. Mr S doubts his ITV colleagues will appreciate the slip up.

Sunday shows round-up: Nicola Sturgeon – IndyRef2 decision will be made by the end of 2018

The Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was given the prime interview slot on the Andrew Marr Show this morning. Noting the change in SNP rhetoric since before the 2017 election, Marr pushed Sturgeon for a timeframe as to when Scottish voters could expect to see a second independence referendum: NS: There is a lot of confusion, this is a complex issue… and people want to see the clarity emerge about the state of the relationship between the UK and the EU. At that point, what I’ve said is that we will look at that and determine at that stage if Scotland should then have the right to choose between whatever

Jeremy Hunt’s Brexit warning misses the point

Jeremy Hunt has managed to get both Remainers and Brexiteers in a spin this weekend with his appearance on Peston on Sunday. Following reports of growing eurosceptic anger over concessions Theresa May is expected to make on the ECJ in a bid to get ‘sufficient progress’ at this month’s EU council meeting, Hunt said his Parliamentary colleagues have a simple choice – May’s Brexit or no Brexit at all: ‘I think there’s an even bigger point here, that the choice we face now is not between this Brexit and that Brexit; if we don’t back Theresa May we will have no Brexit – and she is doing an unbelievably challenging

Letters | 23 November 2017

The medium is the message Sir: In his piece about the tech-savvy Labour party, Robert Peston writes: ‘A party’s values and messages matter. But in today’s digital Babel, they are probably less important than how the message is presented and to whom it is communicated’ (‘Corbyn 2.0’, 18 November). Some of your readers may remember the late Marshall McLuhan who in the 1960s coined the phrase ‘The medium is the message.’ I’ve always thought this to have been prescient for its time and it has become ever more pertinent. It is an enormous downside to the digital age that the means of transmitting data is more important than its content.

Diary – 14 July 2016

I first met a boyish, sunny Tony Blair more than 20 years ago. Our encounters have always been slightly tense since I reported some clumsy remarks he made about tax when he was still an apprentice PM — and he reacted much as Andrea Leadsom did against the Times last week (though via A. Campbell rather than Twitter). On Wednesday afternoon at Admiralty House he is a stricken caricature of how he was: painfully thin; waxy skin; astonishingly terrible teeth. He is a brilliant actor but not that good: he has been tormenting himself over Chilcot. But he isn’t sorry for the invasion, as he told me, and would do

Watch: Angela Eagle abandoned by hacks at leadership launch

Today the Eagle has landed. After touring television studios yesterday with talk that she would run to be the next Labour leader, Angela Eagle officially launched her campaign this morning. Alas there was a problem. As the launch neared its end, Andrea Leadsom managed to upstage her by putting on a rival press conference to announce that she was dropping out of the Tory leadership race. As hacks raced across Westminster to make it to Leadsom’s conference, the Labour leadership hopeful was left red-faced as she tried to take questions from the BBC and then ITV’s Robert Peston only to learn that they weren’t there. Given that Mr S understands that Eagle had to call

The Spectator summer party, in pictures | 6 July 2016

In recent weeks, Westminster politicians have found themselves compared to the characters of House of Cards and Game of Thrones over their post-referendum antics. Happily, parliamentarians were able to put such differences aside on Wednesday night as they took a well-deserved break from work at The Spectator summer party. As Labour’s Rachel Reeves and Liz Kendall caught up with Liz Truss, Laurence Fox — the Lewis actor — put on a passionate display for the cameras with his male companion for the evening. Meanwhile with a Tory leadership contest underway, Theresa May made sure to do the rounds and rally support for her campaign at the champagne-fuelled bash. Her efforts did not go unrewarded, with Fox confiding to

Robert Peston calls for an end to ‘vicious and vindictive’ interviews

This Sunday marks the debut of Robert Peston’s new ITV politics show. Peston on Sunday is set out to rival the BBC’s politics shows — such as the Andrew Marr Show, Daily Politics and Newsnight — as the channel try to win back ground with its politics coverage. However, before Peston’s former BBC colleagues break a sweat over their new rival’s efforts, they can breathe a collective sigh of relief that the former BBC economics editor harbours no plans to mimic their greatest stars. In fact, if anything Peston plans to do his best to be nothing like them. In an interview with the Radio Times, the ITV political editor has launched a thinly-veiled attack on presenters

Nicholas Soames takes Robert Peston to task over his dress sense

Since Robert Peston departed the BBC to join ITV as their new political editor, he has taken a relaxed approach when it comes to workwear. Earlier this month he raised eyebrows when he wore a cap and a faux fur coat for a news broadcast. Now the Tory MP Nicholas Soames has called him out over his casual fashion sense. The incident occurred after Peston attempted to compliment Soames on a disparaging tweet the Tory grandee had written about John Redwood, the Conservative MP: I might have implied recently that @nsoamesmp lacked manners & could be funnier. I retract — Robert Peston (@Peston) February 15, 2016 Alas Soames — who is Winston Churchill’s

Coffee Shots: Robert Peston goes with the faux

When Robert Peston was at the BBC, his bosses were left unimpressed when his floppy hair became the story during a live News at Ten broadcast from windy Athens. After filming Peston received an email from a BBC executive telling him that a haircut was ‘imperative’. Happily Peston’s new bosses at ITV appear to be more accepting of his eccentricities. Today the broadcaster’s new political editor has attracted attention with what appears to be a faux fur collar. Alas the fashionable number did not appeal to everyone, with one viewer likening his appearance to that of a street magazine seller : Flat cap and fur-trimmed parka. Really not a good look for Robert Peston —

Diary – 28 January 2016

For years, I’ve wondered why so many clever people go to Davos to discuss topics as meaningless as ‘the new global context’ or ‘shared norms for the new reality’. It has always struck me like a massive game of Just A Minute, in which contestants compete on how long they can talk about a theme that makes no sense at all. But as I found out when I visited last week, the real game is far more sophisticated. No one at Davos cares too much about the gabfest. The debates are, in effect, a front for the biggest networking event in the capitalist world. For one week, this ski resort

Watch out Laura! Corbynistas strengthen ties with Robert Peston

Even though Robert Peston has only been in his new job as ITV’s political editor for little more than a week, he has already managed to slip-up. On top of experiencing difficulties getting into the ITV building, the former BBC economics editor — who Marr once described as a man ‘crippled by a sense of his own lack of self-worth’ — managed to refer to Liz Kendall as ‘Liz Corbyn’ during one of his first broadcast interviews. However, should any of his former BBC colleagues struggle to take him seriously, they may now need to reconsider. With relations between Labour and the BBC at an all-time low over accusations of anti-Corbyn bias, ITV look set

Come back Pesto, all is forgiven: and tell us who’s to blame this time

‘Who’s to blame for financial crisis’ is a poem I wrote in 2012, rhyming ‘speculators, spivs and traders’ with ‘rich, -uncaring hedge-fund raiders’, while taking passing swipes at Gordon Brown and ‘Mervyn King, who really didn’t do a thing’. But it’s too early in 2016 to update my ditty, because the new crisis — if that’s what it is — hasn’t really hit us yet, except in share prices that clearly have further to fall. And the question of who’s to blame, never mind how to make them rhyme, is going to be a lot more difficult this time round. ‘It’s China’s fault,’ was the gist of bulletins about the

Robert Peston’s new job ruffles feathers at the BBC

Earlier this week Mr S reported how Robert Peston’s appointment as ITV’s new political editor had led his former BBC colleagues to place a sign outside their press room at Tory conference making it clear that he was no longer welcome. Now, in a further sign that his new job has not gone down well with his former colleagues, the BBC’s deputy political editor James Landale has posted a cryptic tweet directed at those journalists who have not been promoted in recent months. Landale — who was overlooked in favour of Laura Kuenssberg for the role of BBC political editor — has sent a message praising those who — like him — put the story first,

Coffee Shots: Robert Peston left out in the cold

This week it was reported that Robert Peston is leaving his role as the BBC’s economics editor to join ITV as their political editor. As part of the new job, he is expected to be the host of a Sunday morning politics programme which the broadcaster hopes will rival The Andrew Marr Show. Unsurprisingly the news does not appear to have gone down too well with some members of the Beeb. Stephen Walker, the BBC Northern Ireland Political Correspondent, has shared a photo of a sign outside a BBC press area at Tory conference which has been ‘edited’ to ban Peston from entering. Poor Robert. — Stephen Walker (@StepWalkTV) October

Long life | 1 October 2015

When Robert Peston, the economics editor of the BBC, interviewed George Osborne on television in an open-necked shirt with collar awry and a wisp of chest hair on display, he was subjected to a barrage of criticism to which he responded with vigour. It was ‘bonkers’ to suggest that wearing a tie made a journalist serious, he said, or that a tie should be worn out of respect for the interviewee. ‘I didn’t not wear a tie out of disrespect for the chancellor,’ he said. ‘I just didn’t wear a tie because I don’t really like wearing a tie. I think these TV conventions are nuts.’ A report in the