James Forsyth

James Forsyth

James Forsyth is former political editor of The Spectator.

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

Can Rishi weather his first Tory rebellion?

14 min listen

Rishi Sunak is facing his first Tory Commons rebellion on the issue of UK house building targets. Could this be game over?  Also on the podcast, after Chloe Smith announced that she will be leaving politics at the next election, could more follow her out of parliament? Katy Balls speaks to James Forsyth and Isabel

Is the government trying to soften Brexit?

13 min listen

Over the weekend, government briefings that they will be looking towards a Swiss-style arrangement with the EU reignited the Brexit rows. Dormant Brexiteers like Nigel Farage and the European Research Group resurfaced, making it clear that they would not accept a so-called ‘Chequers 2.0’. On the record, the government has been keen to reject this

Austerity 2.0: is all the pain really necessary?

34 min listen

It’s no doubt a depressing time for the British economy, but how much that is the fault of the government, either for getting us to this stage and/or for not setting out a more optimistic exit route? On this episode, Cindy Yu moderates a debate between Fraser Nelson, James Forsyth and Kate Andrews who battle

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

James Forsyth

Will Hunt’s budget survive scrutiny?

9 min listen

The front pages are almost universally bad today, but the government is more concerned with the reaction from the markets, which, so far, have not turned against yesterday’s budget. Could this high tax low spend fiscal statement yet pass scrutiny, given the torrid economic climate at large? Cindy Yu talks to James Forsyth and Katy

Will the Autumn Statement break the Tory truce?

12 min listen

The Conservative party is still digesting Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement, a far cry from the last fiscal statement from this party. Have the Prime Minister and the Chancellor managed to deliver a budget that hits the political sweet point of cornering Labour without splitting their own party? Isabel Hardman talks to James

James Forsyth

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

What do we know about the Polish missile tragedy?

12 min listen

Last night there were fears of a direct attack from Russia on a NATO country, after a missile struck two Polish nationals on the border with Ukraine. An investigation is now underway, but who is responsible for these deaths? Also on the podcast, Dominic Raab took PMQs today despite bullying allegations against him gathering pace.

James Forsyth

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

Why is the workforce shrinking?

11 min listen

Figures released today show that the number of people in employment has dropped by 50,000 since September, despite a national worker shortage of 1.25 million. Does this shed some light on the recession? Are these shortages simply because of disputes over pay or could the NHS waiting list be to blame?  Also on the podcast,

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

James Forsyth

What can we expect from the G20 summit?

11 min listen

The G20 summit kicked off as world leaders arrived in Bali overnight. Ahead of the summit, Biden and Xi met to discuss tensions over trade, tech and human rights. The two claim they are ready for candid exchanges as China-US relations are at their lowest in decades.  Rishi Sunak also flew to his first G20

Is the UK on the brink of recession?

11 min listen

The ONS forecasts reveal that UK output fell by 0.2 per cent between July-September. Whilst not a recession yet, it is increasingly likely the next quarter will see another dip following a surge in interest rates. Will the government’s messaging change ahead of the Autumn Statement next week? Also on the podcast, Kate and James

James Forsyth

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

Nurses on strike: how can the NHS cope?

18 min listen

For the first time in history, nurses have voted to go on strike. As the NHS grapples with record wait lists and excess deaths, how will it cope this winter? Also on the podcast, James and Isabel discuss the ongoing situation in Northern Ireland. And how will Matt Hancock fare in the jungle? Natasha Feroze

How much has the Williamson row damaged Rishi Sunak?

11 min listen

Though Gavin Williamson has now resigned, Rishi Sunak still had to fend off a number of questions on the disgraced minister at today’s Prime Minister’s Questions. How much damage has the row done to the Prime Minister? Cindy Yu talks to James Forsyth and Isabel Hardman. Produced by Cindy Yu.

James Forsyth

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

Will Hunt protect the pensions triple lock?

12 min listen

Ahead of the Autumn Statement next week, questions remain over whether the government intends to protect the pensions triple lock. With pensioners being such an important part of the Conservative party’s demographic, will Jeremy Hunt risk the inevitable backlash? Also on the podcast, what will Rishi Sunak do about Gavin Williamson as the bullying claims