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.

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

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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

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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

Isabel Hardman

Is Sunak right to say the Palestine march is ‘disrespectful’?

What does Rishi Sunak mean when he says Saturday’s pro-Palestine march in London is ‘disrespectful’? The Prime Minister was responding to the announcements from Metropolitan Police chief Sir Mark Rowley that his force would not be banning the demonstration in London. Sunak said: This is a decision that the Metropolitan Police Commissioner has made, and

What did King Charles say?

12 min listen

It was the King’s speech today. King Charles announced that the government would introduce new laws to, among other things, force criminals to attend their sentencing hearings, scrap most jail sentences of less than a year, and sell all new houses as freehold properties. Is it enough for the Tories to turn around their deficit

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All Sunak wants to do is attack Labour

Rishi Sunak wants voters to see the Conservatives as taking difficult, ambitious choices, including on net zero and transport. He told MPs: ‘This King’s Speech is about what this government is about, taking long-term decisions to build a brighter future for our country. It builds on foundations that are far stronger than they were just

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The King’s Speech was all about the next election

‘My ministers’ focus is on increasing economic growth and safeguarding the health and security of the British people for generations to come.’ The King read these opening words, written for him, which set out the government’s final legislative agenda before a general election. Of course, that agenda is being interpreted as a ‘starting gun’ for

Braverman has offered nothing to stop homelessness

Landscape architects use the term ‘hostile design’ to describe elements that stop anti-social behaviour. They could be armrests along a lengthy bench aren’t for the comfort of the people who choose to sit there, but to break up the space and make it impossible for someone to lie down and sleep rough. Little studs running

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Is Suella Braverman in trouble over rough sleepers?

14 min listen

The Home Secretary sparked fury over the weekend for her comments on homelessness, suggesting that rough sleepers using tents is a ‘lifestyle choice’. Senior cabinet members including the Rishi Sunak didn’t jump to her defence from the comments. What was behind her decision to take such a firm line? Also on the podcast, Katy Balls

What has Sunak’s AI summit achieved?

What was the point of Rishi Sunak’s landmark AI summit at Bletchley Park? The Prime Minister has just given a press conference at the end of it in which he tried to underline his achievements. These included bringing together more than 100 of the leading AI nations and leading companies handling the technology and reaching