Patrick O’Flynn

Patrick O’Flynn

Patrick O’Flynn is a former MEP and political editor of the Daily Express

Newsnight doomed itself

Whither Newsnight? Or do I mean wither, Newsnight – shortly to be reduced to a 30-minute debate show shorn of more than half its staff. As a teenage news and politics junkie, I grew up on this programme, watching it from its 1979 inception and through its 1980s heyday when that broadcasting giant Sir John

Will Farage return to haunt the Tories?

The rise of Ukip and the highway to Brexit was greatly smoothed by the widespread perception that British governments had lost control of immigration. For many years, we purists in matters of nation-state independence struggled to articulate a stand-alone ‘sovereigntist’ argument that would catch fire with the wider public. But then Tony Blair threw open

Sunak has no excuse for immigration being this high

Of all the essential tasks facing Rishi Sunak when he became Prime Minister, bringing down the level of legal immigration should have been by far the most straightforward. This is probably not what the electorate had in mind when voting for Brexit in order to ‘take back control’ of the borders All he had to

Don’t blame ‘lefty lawyers’ for the Rwanda debacle

There is no point in critics of our activist judiciary kicking off about today’s Supreme Court’s decision that the government’s Rwanda policy is unlawful. This isn’t a case of ‘lefty lawyers’ thwarting honest politicians, but of incompetent politicians seeking to wish away the United Kingdom’s international treaty obligations without having the bottle to withdraw from

Rishi Sunak will regret bringing back David Cameron

So farewell then to the great realignment: Suella Braverman out of a great office of state and David Cameron back into one. As electoral signals go, this one hardly needs much decoding. The alliance of social conservatives that fell into the Tory lap without them really understanding why has been spurned. The boarding school boys

Rishi Sunak is in office but not in power

Can Rishi Sunak still catch a break or has the plughole spiral of British politics now dragged him firmly into its unsparing ambit? It is just possible that he will come up for a lungful of air on Wednesday, when the Supreme Court delivers its long-awaited verdict on whether the Rwanda scheme is legal. More

Sacking Suella could sink Sunak

If prizes were dished out for saying what the unwashed and un-woke are thinking then Suella Braverman would be garlanded in medals and have a mantelpiece groaning with trophies. The Home Secretary scored bullseye of the year when she said that multiculturalism had failed. A couple of weeks later groups of people waving Palestinian flags

Rishi Sunak’s Oliver Dowden problem

Margaret Thatcher was said to have once remarked that every prime minister needed a Willie. Given that humour was not her natural domain, perhaps she didn’t even intend it as a pun. The Willie she was referring to was, of course, the vastly experienced William Whitelaw who served as her effective deputy – and most famously

Sunak has united conservatives but not how he hoped

Why are the Conservatives doing quite so badly? Smashed in two by-elections, dropping further in the polls, last days of the Roman Empire on the backbenches, morale and purpose visibly ebbing away. Partly it must be because Rishi Sunak has been unveiled as a nerd rather than an authoritative national leader. Banging on about gobbledegook

Tory voters are no longer scared of Labour

Amid all the discussion in Tory circles about whether the next election will have more in common with the narrow victory of 1992 or the landslide defeat of 1997, nobody has ever made the case for 1993. But after the Conservatives’ shattering loss of two of their nominally ‘safest’ seats to Labour in by-elections in

Is migration really about to halve?

Could our current record levels of immigration be a flash in the pan, a statistical spike brought about by the confluence of several exceptional factors? After the figure for the twelve months to June 2022 came in at 606,000 net and more than one million gross, that would be a comforting notion for those who

The winners and losers of this year’s conference season

Conference season 2023 is done and dusted, with punchy Wes Streeting having performed the final significant act yesterday via his speech depicting Labour as the great engine of NHS reform. How has it gone? Who has done best? Has it changed the political weather overall? Those who have attended all of it will have their

Could Nigel Farage unlock victory for Keir Starmer?

What is Labour’s offer for Nigel Farage? Yes, you read that right. Of course, Keir Starmer’s party detests almost everything the former Ukip leader stands for, including Brexit and immigration control. That almost goes without saying. But we are well into the phase of the political cycle when grubbing for votes is far more crucial

Suella Braverman is a force to be reckoned with

After Suella Braverman announced her candidacy for the Tory leadership on ITV’s Peston show in the summer of 2022 the liberal left laughed at the very idea. Someone even asked Robert Peston online: ‘How did you keep a straight face when Suella B said she’d stand for Prime Minister?’ Well, as Bob Monkhouse once observed

Is Suella after the Tory leadership?

11 min listen

Suella Braverman is in Washington today, giving a speech to a think tank on illegal migration in which she will argue that seeking asylum and seeking better economic prospects are two different things. It’s a punchy line she’s taking, should Rishi be taking note? Or is this a thinly veiled bid for the Conservative leadership? 

Patrick O'Flynn

Rishi Sunak has much to learn from Suella Braverman

Amid all the heat and not much light thrown up by the ongoing debate on the illegal migration crisis, it is easy to pick out the voice of Home Secretary Suella Braverman. She is the Conservative who isn’t bluffing when the idea is raised of the UK withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights