Isabel Hardman

Isabel Hardman

Isabel Hardman is assistant editor of The Spectator and author of Why We Get the Wrong Politicians. She also presents Radio 4’s Week in Westminster.

Boris defends partygate yet again

What does Boris Johnson want to come out of the Covid Inquiry? At the end of his second day of evidence today, the former prime minister claimed that it was social care reform and an investigation into how Covid originated. He told the room that in case he didn’t give evidence again (which he may

Robert Jenrick resigns as immigration minister

In the past few minutes, James Cleverly has confirmed that Robert Jenrick has resigned as immigration minister. He was asked repeatedly about the position of his minister of state in the Home Office during his statement on the emergency Rwanda legislation, and he has now said it ‘has been confirmed’ that Jenrick has left his

Isabel Hardman

Starmer skewers Sunak on Rwanda at PMQs

It was another clear win for Keir Starmer at Prime Minister’s Questions today. The Labour leader decided to take a mocking tilt at the latest iteration of the Rwanda policy. He asked Rishi Sunak how successful it had been: ‘If the purpose of the Rwanda gimmick was to solve a political headache of the Tories’

Cleverly’s battle to send flights to Rwanda is not over yet

James Cleverly has just signed a new treaty with Rwanda that the UK government hopes will lead to the deportation policy finally getting going. As he did so, the Home Secretary insisted that the Rwandan government had made a ‘strong commitment’ to the safety of asylum seekers – which was the key reason the Supreme

Sunak loses Commons vote for first time as PM

The government has just been defeated in the Commons for the first time since Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister. It wasn’t on one of the issues Sunak and his camp fret most about: it was on compensation for victims of the contaminated blood scandal. It was close: the government lost by just four votes on

Isabel Hardman

Starmer has no vision. Is that a bad thing?

Keir Starmer seems to be most comfortable when he’s pointing out how badly the Tories are doing, rather than when he is setting out his own plans. This afternoon he talked about the importance of long-term decision-making, skills and supply side reform: none of which would sound out of place in a speech by Jeremy

Do the Tories have a migration plan?

What is the Tory party’s policy on immigration after record-breaking net migration figures and the failure of its Rwanda policy at the Supreme Court? It was a question that was actually asked this afternoon by a Conservative MP. James Morris confronted immigration minister Robert Jenrick in the Commons on the new Home Secretary’s claim that

Isabel Hardman

Sunak under pressure to curb legal migration

11 min listen

Rishi Sunak is on the defensive over legal migration. After figures late last week revealed net migration hit a record 750,000 in the year to December 2022, the Prime Minister is under pressure from his own side to act. This afternoon James Cleverly will address the House and is expected to lay out a series

Rachel Reeves borrows an attack line from Ronald Reagan

Rachel Reeves is getting used to being nicknamed ‘the copy-and-paste shadow chancellor’ by the Tories. Today she leaned into that name by repeating a phrase she’s been using for a while; one she copied and pasted from another politician. Ronald Reagan’s 1980 question of ‘Are you better off now than you were four years ago?’

Isabel Hardman

Hunt’s Autumn Statement was surprisingly upbeat

Jeremy Hunt has just finished the most upbeat economic statement we’ve heard in a good while – certainly since the one from Kwasi Kwarteng that plunged the UK into economic turmoil. Today, the Chancellor was keen to impress upon MPs that the swathe of tax cuts he was announcing could only happen because of the

Isabel Hardman

PMQs: Starmer asks Sunak about his missing NHS pledge

Keir Starmer decided to fill the space at today’s pre-Autumn Statement Prime Minister’s Questions with a focus on a missing pledge from Rishi Sunak. He pointed out that the five new pledges the Prime Minister announced this week missed one on the NHS, and asked why. Sunak replied that ‘just weeks after’ he became prime

Will the Tories’ ‘carrot and stick’ benefits plan work?

Rishi Sunak wants to frame a benefits crackdown in tomorrow’s Autumn Statement in compassionate terms, with ministers saying people with mobility problems and mental illnesses can no longer be ‘written off’ thanks to advances in technology making it easier to work from home. Instead, they will be expected to look for work or face benefits

Tory MPs want a sense of vision from the PM

The Autumn Statement marks the latest in Rishi Sunak’s series of (often contradictory) relaunches Jeremy Hunt has started the week of his Autumn Statement in a rather more upbeat mood than usual. He spent yesterday talking about the importance of bringing the tax burden down and getting the British economy ‘fizzing’: a significant change of

Can Sunak shift the dial?

13 min listen

The chancellor Jeremy Hunt will deliver his autumn statement next week and Rishi Sunak will be hoping to stamp his authority onto a fracturing party after a difficult few days. There are lots of rumours swirling around about what might be included, such as cuts to inheritance tax and to taxes for small businesses. What

Is Suella Braverman safe for now?

12 min listen

Despite mounting pressure from Conservative MPs to remove Suella Braverman, no announcement has been made yet. How much pressure is Rishi Sunak facing over the Home Secretary’s stand-off with the Met Police? Also on the podcast, Natasha Feroze speaks to James Heale and Isabel Harman about the Conservative Home Cabinet league table ahead of a

Isabel Hardman

Suella Braverman’s clumsiness makes Met reform less likely

Suella Braverman’s career as Home Secretary may be over very soon. But a long tail of it will be the criticism she has made of the Metropolitan Police. It was unprecedented for a Home Secretary to make the claims she did of ‘picking favourites’ and bias. In the long-term, reforming the police might have become

Sunak has no easy options in the Suella Braverman row

Tory whips are doing a ring around of their MPs to find out what they think of the row over Suella Braverman’s Times piece. The Home Secretary accused police of ‘playing favourites’ when it comes to dealing with protests. As I blogged earlier, several have made their views on Braverman’s intervention very well known to

Isabel Hardman

Is Suella Braverman trying to get sacked?

Tory MPs are in an even more fractious mood than usual following Suella Braverman’s article in the Times. No. 10 has now clarified that while Rishi Sunak has full confidence in Braverman, the article was not cleared by Downing Street. As Katy Balls explains here, the Home Secretary does seem to be pushing the limits of

Will Mark Rowley ban the pro-Palestine protests?

13 min listen

Rishi Sunak met with Met Commissioner Mark Rowley today to discuss the Palestine protests planned for the Remembrance weekend. Sunak has called the marches ‘disrespectful’, and said he would hold Rowley ‘accountable’ for not banning them. Will the Commissioner change his mind? Isabel Hardman speaks to Katy Balls and Danny Shaw, former home affairs correspondent