Robert Peston

Robert Peston

Robert Peston is Political Editor of ITV News and host of the weekly political discussion show Peston. His articles originally appeared on his ITV News blog.

Where’s Boris’s plan to stop the economic chaos?

Interest payments on the national debt rose 70 per cent last month to £7.6 billion (compared with a year earlier) – largely because of the impact of inflation on income paid to holders of index-linked gilts, which are inflation-protected government bonds. More worryingly, this was 49 per cent more than the official forecast made in March by the

Boris Johnson’s inflation contradiction

As Boris Johnson tries to limit pay rises to bring down inflation, ministers have no explanation for why planned rises in the state pension and benefits would be less inflationary than increasing teachers’ and nurses’ pay. The government is attempting to limit public sector pay to 3 per cent, while allowing pensions and benefits to rise to around

The Northern Ireland Protocol is a problem Boris created

If Boris Johnson was elected on a single slogan, it was ‘Get Brexit done’. He then claimed it was done at the end of 2019 in the terms for leaving the EU he agreed. Not so. Today legislation will be introduced by the Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to unilaterally overhaul a central pillar of the

Boris’s moment of maximum danger is yet to come

Much as Boris Johnson wants to ‘bash on’, deliver popular populist policies, and characterise Monday’s confidence vote as the catharsis that purges him and his party of the partygate poison, his struggle to re-establish his credibility and authority will be the challenge of his life. First of all, most of the 148 Tory MPs who

The dilemma facing Tory MPs

There are two questions for Tory MPs today. One, do they believe that the PM will cost them or save them their seats at the next general election. Two, how pernicious to confidence in the important institutions of government is the widespread perception that the politician at its apex is dishonest. The first question is about

I’m not exaggerating partygate

A veteran Tory MP, who I’ve known for almost 30 years, just laid into me – and my colleagues in much of the media – for allegedly exaggerating the seriousness of how Covid laws were systematically broken in 10 Downing Street. He hadn’t read Sue Gray’s report into the rule-breaking parties and did not attend the

A Treasury cost-of-living help package could be imminent

A £10 billion package of help with fuel bills and the cost of living targeted at those on lowest incomes could be announced as soon as Thursday, I am told. No final decisions have been made, but the prime minister wants to reset his administration before the Queen’s Jubilee parliamentary recess and after the publication

Robert Peston

The unspoken argument behind a windfall tax

The Financial Times story on Rishi Sunak looking at a possible windfall tax on energy firms captures how difficult such a tax is for any government, especially a Tory one. Because it begs questions why, when electricity suppliers suffered unsustainable losses in autumn and winter, when under the price cap they suffered huge and unsustainable

How does Boris Johnson save the economy?

‘For the first time since records began, there are fewer unemployed people than job vacancies,’ the ONS says. The number of unemployed people in January to March was 1,256,846 whereas vacancies in February to April 2022 rose to a new record of 1,295,000. At a time when we may already be in recession, and we certainly

Boris is gearing up for a new round of the Brexit wars

As prime minister, Boris Johnson does not follow the normal rules. To put it mildly. And this year’s Queen’s Speech, announcing his legislative programme for the coming parliamentary session, is no exception. That’s because probably the most important piece of planned legislation, a new law to waive parts of the contentious Northern Ireland Protocol, is

Why Starmer had to put his job on the line

Keir Starmer had no option but to say – as he has done – that he will resign if fined for breaching Covid rules, as I already pointed out on Friday when Durham police announced it was investigating whether his beer and curry last April was work sustenance or an illegal party. There were two reasons why he

Partygate could still sink Boris Johnson

There are two big questions in UK politics, neither of which has been decisively resolved by local election results in England so far – and probably won’t be by the time all UK results are announced over the coming few days. They are: Will and should Conservative MPs remove Boris Johnson as their leader and the

Why is Boris Johnson suppressing the incomes of the poor?

As the Prime Minister pointed out this morning, looming recession and soaring inflation are not uniquely British problems – though right now the UK economy is slowing faster than many of our rich country competitors. In the US for example, the IMF’s former chief economist Ken Rogoff has warned just today that the Federal Reserve’s

What’s going on with the Met and partygate?

I don’t understand the logic behind how the Met Police is conducting its probe into unlawful parties at Downing Street and the Cabinet Office. My confusion reached brain-aching proportions after my ITV colleague Anushka Asthana disclosed on Friday that officials had received fixed penalty notices – fines – for attending perhaps the most famous of all

What’s wrong with the Rwanda plan?

There are many unanswered questions about the government’s new policy of compelled expulsion to Rwanda of uninvited asylum claimants. Here are just a few. 1) What is the estimated cost per expelled refugee? None of the briefings give a clue. In its absence, how can the policy be assessed for its value for money, compared

This is a constitutional crisis

The police have today concluded that Boris Johnson, the Chancellor and the PM’s wife all attended illegal parties that breached Covid laws written by the PM. This is most serious for the prime minister of the three of them because it was he who told MPs on 8 December that he had been ‘repeatedly assured’ there

How Boris misled MPs over partygate

The significance of today’s announcement by the Met Police that 20 individuals who unlawfully attended parties in Downing Street and the Cabinet Office will be fined is that it confirms the Prime Minister misled the House of Commons on 8 December. On that date he told Sir Keir Starmer, Labour’s leader:  What we don’t know, of course,

Robert Peston

Putin’s war is pushing Finland towards Nato

There is important precedent for a small, determined, patriotic army saving a nation from falling under the sway of Russia. And that precedent is the 105-day Winter War in 1939-40 between Finland and the Soviet Union, the precursor to Vladimir Putin’s Russia. The courage of the Finns inflicted huge losses on their fearsome adversary, as

Has Rishi Sunak just destroyed his relationship with Boris?

I said yesterday that I expected the Chancellor to increase universal credit by more than planned. I was misled. I was wrong. Today, Rishi Sunak’s official forecaster, the Office for Budget Responsibility, is explicit about how painful Sunak’s refusal to increase benefits will be for those who rely on them. It says:  ‘Lags in CPI (or inflation) uprating

What to expect at the spring statement

The big story of Wednesday’s spring statement by the Chancellor will be the impact of inflation – which has soared from almost zero just over a year ago to perhaps 10 per cent in coming months – on living standards and the public finances. I expect Rishi Sunak to provide limited protection from the ravages