James Forsyth

James Forsyth

James Forsyth is former political editor of The Spectator.

A year is a long time in politics

The year of the three emperors in Prussia changed world history. In 1888, Wilhelm I died and was succeeded by his more liberal son, Friedrich III. However, Friedrich’s reign was cut short by cancer. He died after just 99 days. He was followed by his 29-year-old son Wilhelm II – better known in this country

Why Japan and Britain are teaming up to build a fighter jet

The UK will partner with Italy and Japan to develop a new generation of fighter aircraft with the aim of having them flying by 2035. Britain and Italy were already working together through the future combat air system, but the announcement of Japan joining them is striking.  For decades, Japan has had an informal cap

Rishi Sunak is about to feel winter’s sting

During the Tory leadership contest this summer, it was frequently said that whoever won would face the most politically difficult winter in a generation. In the end, despite winning the contest, Liz Truss didn’t make it that far. But winter is about to sting her successor.    After the collapse of the Truss premiership, Rishi Sunak

Three reasons Labour wants to talk about Lords reform

There are reasons why Labour wants to talk about constitutional reform despite all the other challenges facing the country. First, there is no financial cost to it. At the moment, Labour is severely hemmed in by the fact that it doesn’t want to make new spending commitments as it knows the Tories will immediately ask

Why Tories are taking early retirement

Conservative party strategists face nervous days ahead as they wait to see how many Tory MPs will announce they are standing down at the next election. The last two general elections – 2017 and 2019 – were called unexpectedly in the middle of parliament, meaning MPs had next to no time to decide whether or

Sunak should keep calm and carry on over Sturgeon’s referendum

In many ways, the biggest political development of this week was the Supreme Court ruling that a referendum bill would be outside the competence of the Scottish parliament. This unanimous decision – and the fact that the UK government isn’t budging on a Section 30 order which would allow another referendum – means Nicola Sturgeon

Why Starmer’s going after the Lords

It’s not just the government that’s now beholden to forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility. Keir Starmer told the BBC that Labour doesn’t ‘quarrel with the number that the OBR put out as a target or trying to get the debt down’. So Starmer accepts that the government needs to find around £50 billion

Britain needs its missing workers back

Amid all the economic gloom at the moment, the unemployment figure is one bright spot. It is just 3.6 per cent, down from 3.8 per cent this year, and close to a historic low. But, as I say in the Times this morning, even this glimmer of hope is tarnished. The low unemployment number disguises how

Three ways Hunt’s Autumn Statement will be judged

The government expects its Autumn Statement to be judged on three tests. First of all, how do the markets react? The decisions announced today by the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt mean that the government will be issuing £31 billion less in gilts – in other words, in borrowing – than expected after the mini-Budget. The initial

The contours of the next election have been set

Since the 2008 financial crash, British politics has been moving faster and faster, and becoming less stable. This frenzy reached its apogee with Liz Truss’s 44-day stint in No. 10 which had enough drama for a ten-year premiership. One of the challenges for Rishi Sunak is to calm things down and to return politics to

James Forsyth

Nato to meet amid uncertainty over missile that hit Poland

Uncertainty still surrounds what happened with the missile that struck the village of Przewodów in Poland, around four miles from the Ukrainian border, which killed two farm workers last night. President Joe Biden has said that the missile’s trajectory means it is ‘unlikely’ it was fired from Russia. At the moment, it is unclear whether

Has the next cold war been put on hold?

The Biden-Xi meeting at the G20 seems to have been relatively productive, and has at least improved the lines of communication between the two superpowers. The Chinese readout has them declaring that the relationship is ‘not what the international community expects from us’.   The first in-person meeting between Biden and Xi since Biden became president

Was Kwasi Kwarteng to blame for the mini-Budget fallout?

Kwasi Kwarteng is clearly right about one thing in his interview with Talk TV: his departure hastened the end of Liz Truss’s premiership. Sacking a Chancellor is a dramatic, and risky, move for a Prime Minister at the best of times. But when the Prime Minister and the Chancellor are known to have been in

What Liz Truss got right

Soon after Kwasi Kwarteng’s not-so-mini-Budget, I found myself in conversation with former aides to David Cameron and Boris Johnson respectively. They were both irritated by the way Liz Truss was being praised as a ‘true Tory’ in some Conservative circles, compared with her more cautious predecessors. One of them remarked, as the other nodded, that

Cop27: Sunak’s first overseas trip as PM

Rishi Sunak is back from his first overseas trip as Prime Minister. Despite Downing Street having initially said he wouldn’t go, Sunak did travel to Cop27, the international climate change summit in Egypt.   Given the UK has had three prime ministers this year, his non-attendance would have raised question marks The problem with Sunak not

How to balance immigration and jobs

Immigration is now at the top of the political agenda in a way that it hasn’t been since the vote to leave the European Union in 2016. Two factors have propelled it up the list, one very real (the small boats arriving across the Channel) and the other theoretical (economic modelling). The market reaction to

James Forsyth

Sunak and Starmer clash over ‘broken’ asylum system

Short questions are always best at PMQs – and Keir Starmer’s first one was very short indeed. He asked Rishi Sunak if the asylum system is broken as the Home Secretary had said – and if so, who broke it? (I wonder if Starmer got the idea from Nick Robinson’s interview with Sunak over the

Penny drops, Rishi wins

Rishi Sunak has been elected leader of the Tory party and will be the next prime minister after Penny Mordaunt pulled out of the race. By the 2 m. deadline, 197 Tory MPs – half of the party – had come out for him. Just 27 had gone public for Mordaunt: her team said that anonymous

Boris has avoided a nightmare scenario

Boris Johnson’s decision to pull out of the Tory leadership contest averts a nightmare scenario where he had got the support of less than a third of the parliamentary party and was then returned to Downing Street by the member’s vote (though, I think the result of that ballot was becoming less and less certain).