Coffee House Shots

The Spectator


Instant political analysis from the Spectator's top team of writers, including Fraser Nelson, Isabel Hardman, Katy Balls, James Heale and many others.

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1368 episodes

Scott Benton triggers another by-election

* Former Conservative MP Scott Benton has resigned, triggering a by-election in Blackpool South. The outgoing MP had the Tory whip removed after suggesting to undercover reporters that he would be willing to break lobbying rules for money. Oscar Edmondson speaks to James Heale and Katy Balls about the likelihood of another Tory election defeat in Blackpool South, plus whether the Conservatives are pivoting on their China stance following an alleged cybersecurity threat. 

Mar 25
Isabel Hardman's Sunday Roundup - 24/03/2024

* Isabel Hardman presents highlights from Sunday morning's political shows.  Chancellor Jeremy Hunt does the rounds this week, saying the Russian government is creating a smokescreen of propaganda out of the Moscow terrorist attack. Hunt also guarantees the continuation of the pension 'triple lock', but not compensation for the WASPI women. Labour Party Chair Anneliese Dodds is asked about Labour's approach to zero hour contracts, and the former communications secretary to Prince William says last week's social media storm was the worst he's seen. Produced by Joe Bedell-Brill. 

Mar 24
What is Labour’s economic plan?

* In her Mais lecture in the City of London this week, Rachel Reeves set out her plan for Britain’s economy: securonomics. What does securonomics mean? Can it deliver wealth? Will it work in a high-immigration economy? Freddy Gray speaks to Kate Andrews and the author and journalist Paul Mason.

Mar 23
Should the 'Waspi women' be compensated?

* The Parliamentary Ombudsman's report on raising women's state pension age in line with men's has been published. It details that women born in the 1950s hit by the state pension age change are owed compensation and has advised that the government should 'do the right thing'. Will the 'Waspi women' end up disappointed?  Michael Simmons speaks to Isabel Hardman and Louise Perry, host of the Maiden Mother Matriarch podcast. 

Mar 22
Will Fine Gael call an election?

* Leo Varadkar resigned as Ireland’s Taoiseach this week, and as Fine Gael leader. ‘Personal and political reasons’ informed his decision, he said. Will his party now call an election? Katy Balls speaks to Ben Scallen, from Dublin’s Gript Media. 

Mar 22
Will Reform overtake the Tories?

* A new YouGov poll has Reform just four points behind the Conservatives. Richard Tice’s party is on 15 per cent, and Rishi Sunak’s party is on 19 per cent. What is driving the Tory decline? Max Jeffery speaks to Katy Balls and to James Johnson of JL Partners.

Mar 21
Did Jeremy Hunt reduce inflation?

* Inflation has fallen to 3.4 per cent, it was announced this morning. Jeremy Hunt said it was a sign that the government’s economic plan is working. Is he right? Max Jeffery speaks to Katy Balls and Kate Andrews.

Mar 20
What should Labour do about the Rwanda bill?

* All ten of the amendments to the Rwanda bill, put in by the House of Lords, were rejected by the House of Commons last night. The bill will head back to the Lords tomorrow, where they will decide whether to continue the process of 'ping pong' (putting more amendments in and sending the bill back to the Commons). Should Labour peers worry about being portrayed as foiling the Rwanda asylum plan? Cindy Yu talks to Katy Balls and Spectator contributor Patrick O'Flynn. Produced by Cindy Yu.

Mar 19
Will Penny Mordaunt be the next prime minister?

* Over the weekend, speculation about a plot to oust Rishi Sunak and replace him with Penny Mordaunt circulated the papers. It came after one of the worst weeks of the Prime Minister’s premiership and the looming May elections. This morning, key Cabinet ministers including Kemi Badenoch and Ben Wallace have come out in support of ’sticking to the plan’. Can Rishi Sunak keep the party calm ahead of a gruelling month? And what's the strategy behind opting for an autumn election? Cindy Yu speaks to Katy Balls and Fraser Nelson. 

Mar 18
Nigel Farage on Reform, the Red Wall and 14 years of Tory failure

* On this special edition of Coffee House Shots, Kate Andrews interviews broadcaster, and honorary president of the Reform Party, Nigel Farage. They discuss Lee Anderson's defection to the Reform party, how Nigel won the Red Wall for Boris Johnson, and whether he will return to front line politics. This was taken from The Week in 60 minutes on . For the full episode, and more, click here

Mar 16
Rishi Sunak rules out general election in May

* Rishi Sunak has finally confirmed what most MPs already knew: there won’t be a May general election. Speaking to ITV News West Country on Thursday night, the Prime Minister was asked if there would be a general election at the same time as the local elections on 2 May. He replied: ‘There won’t be a general election on that day but when there is a general election, what matters is the choice.’ So, when will it be?  Also on the podcast, after James Heappey became the latest MP to announce he will step down at the next election, can the Tories stop the exodus?  Natasha Feroze speaks to Katy Balls and Fraser Nelson.  Produced by Natasha Feroze and Oscar Edmondson.

Mar 15
Will Gove’s extremism definition worsen Tory divides?

* Michael Gove has unveiled the government’s new legal definition of extremism, which will decide whether organisations can receive government money. Conservative MPs, and three former Conservative home secretaries, have said doing would be a mistake. Is Gove doing more harm than good? Max Jeffery speaks to Katy Balls and Paul Goodman, former editor of Conservative Home.

Mar 14
Will the Tories return Hester’s £10 million?

* At Prime Minister’s Questions today Rishi Sunak refused to commit to returning the £10 million donor Frank Hester gave to the Conservative party. Hester allegedly said that Diane Abbott made him ‘hate all black women.’ Sunak now says that Hester’s  alleged comments were ‘racist’ and ‘wrong’, after a spokesperson initially only described them as ‘unacceptable’. Will the Tory position change again? Max Jeffery speaks to Katy Balls and the ’s Stephen Bush.

Mar 13
What does Boris want?

* Newspapers today reported that Boris Johnson is going to campaign for the Conservatives in Red Wall seats. Responding, Nadine Dorries wrote on Twitter: ‘There’s no thawing of relations, no plans to campaign. Sunak not spoken to Johnson for over a year.’ So are the stories true? What does Boris want? Max Jeffery speaks to Kate Andrews and Isabel Hardman.

Mar 12
Lee Anderson defects: what next?

* Lee Anderson has defected from the Tory party to Reform. In a press conference this morning, Anderson said ‘I want my country back’ and said that his parents had urged him to change party allegiance. How much of a headache is Anderson’s defection for Rishi Sunak, and will more Tory MPs quit the party? Max Jeffery speaks to Fraser Nelson and Katy Balls.

Mar 11
Isabel Hardman's Sunday Roundup - 10/03/2024

* Isabel Hardman presents highlights from Sunday morning's political shows.  Rachel Reeves says everything in Labour's manifesto will be properly funded, but it isn't clear where that money will come from. The health secretary defends the government's new definition of extremism, and says the NHS needs to be more efficient. But chef Fearnley-Whittingstall says the government is doing nothing to tackle the NHS's biggest problem: obesity. And the director of the IFS says big cuts to public services are coming, no matter who is elected. Produced by Joe Bedell-Brill. 

Mar 10
Does Britain need new laws to tackle extremism?

* Michael Gove is expected to announce a tougher definition of extremism in response to a rise in radical ideology, since the Israel-Gaza war. Are new laws really needed? Or could the current laws, if enforced properly, be the best way to tackle a decline in social cohesion? Natasha Feroze speaks to David Shipley, a film producer and writer and Professor Jonathan Githens-Mazer from the University of Exeter who specialises in counter-terrorism and extremism. 

Mar 09
Why is Theresa May standing down?

* Theresa May has announced that she will not seek re-election this year. The former prime minister said that launching her global commission on modern slavery and human trafficking meant she would not be able to spend as much time as she would like on constituency matters. James Heale speaks to Katy Balls and Isabel Hardman about the news.

Mar 08
Are Scottish Tories causing trouble for Rishi Sunak?

* Lucy Dunn speaks to James Heale and Katy Balls about the slightly muted reaction to the budget. Labour has compared the announcements to Liz Truss's unfunded tax cuts and Scottish Tories have criticised the chancellor’s decision to extend the windfall tax on the profits of North Sea oil. But is this really the pre-election budget?  

Mar 07
Jeremy Hunt’s low-key Budget

* Jeremy Hunt said the government would cut National Insurance by 2 per cent, would abolish the non-dom tax status and would raise the threshold for child benefits in his Budget today. To discuss the new measures, Katy Balls speaks to Kate Andrews and David Miles, from the Office for Budget Responsibility.

Mar 06
What tax cut will Hunt deliver tomorrow?

* Kate Andrews speaks to James Heale and Isabel Hardman as the speculation grows over what taxes Jeremy Hunt will cut in tomorrow's budget. National Insurance is looking most likely – it's a giveaway but does it go far enough?

Mar 05
Sunak and Hunt face a Budget dilemma

* Budget day is approaching and the government has hinted that their plans for tax cutting 'giveaways' are now less likely. James Heale speaks to Katy Balls and Kate Andrews about what to and what not to expect for Wednesday's Spring Budget.

Mar 04
Isabel Hardman's Sunday Roundup - 03/03/2024

* Isabel Hardman presents highlights from Sunday morning's political shows.  The Budget announcement is imminent, and Jeremy Hunt says there will be no 'gimmicks'. He might be stealing Labour's non-dom tax policy though. The government's free childcare programme might be in trouble, do Labour have any better ideas? George Galloway wins the Rochdale by-election, and Rishi Sunak warns against the threat of extremism. Produced by Joe Bedell-Brill.

Mar 03
Is the Home Office broken?

* In this special Saturday edition of Coffee House Shots, Cindy Yu is joined by The Spectator's political correspondent, James Heale, and Director of Kraken Strategy Ltd, and former Special Adviser, Salma Shah, to discuss the state of the Home Office.  At the end of a tricky week of headlines for the department we ask: is the Home Office broken?  Produced by Patrick Gibbons and Cindy Yu.

Mar 02
Labour nightmare as George Galloway wins Rochdale by-election

* George Galloway has won a resounding victory in Rochdale, after a chaotic and messy by-election in which Labour was forced to disown its own candidate after he claimed Israel had allowed Hamas to attack on October 7th. Former Labour MP Galloway – standing for the Workers Party of Britain – won on a single issue campaign, criticising the Israel-Gaza war and in particular the response of Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak to the conflict. How bad is the result for Labour? Oscar Edmondson speaks to Katy Balls and James Heale.  Produced by Oscar Edmondson. 

Mar 01
Why wasn't Wayne Couzens stopped?

* Today, the long-awaited Home Office-commissioned Angiolini Inquiry into Wayne Couzens has been published. Couzens had kidnapped, raped and murdered 33-year-old Sarah Everard three years ago. The findings were chilling, revealing that numerous opportunities to stop Couzens throughout his policing career were missed. Katy Balls talks to James Heale and Isabel Hardman about where politicians failed Sarah Everard. Produced by Cindy Yu.

Feb 29
We need to talk about Truss

* Liz Truss continues to haunt Rishi Sunak. Labour leader Keir Starmer took aim at her recent exploits at CPAC in the US during prime minister's questions today. Starmer called on the prime minister to remove the whip after Truss claimed that her premiership was sabotaged by the 'deep state'. What's Truss up to this time?  Also on the podcast, chancellor Jeremy Hunt will deliver his budget next week. We expect that he will have made his final decision on the March 6th budget by the end of the week. What do we know so far?  Oscar Edmondson speaks to Katy Balls and Kate Andrews.  Produced by Oscar Edmondson. 

Feb 28
David Neal vs the Home Office

* Until recently the government's independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, David Neal has been in front of the Home Affairs select committee today to hit out at his erstwhile employers. Cindy Yu talks to Isabel Hardman and Katy Balls on the episode about Neal's abrupt sacking and just how 'independent' an independent inspector can be. Produced by Cindy Yu.

Feb 27
Have the Tories got 'Islamophobic tendencies'?

* Conservatives are divided over Lee Anderson's suspension, with some believing that if he apologises for comments made about Sadiq Khan, he should be allowed to return. This has sparked new concerns about the Tory party having a problem with islamophobia, worsened by Liz Truss appearing at an event with Steve Bannon who has also been accused of making Islamophobic comments. How can Rishi Sunak squash these accusations? Should Truss also lose the whip? Cindy Yu speaks to James Heale and Katy Balls. 

Feb 26
Isabel Hardman's Sunday Roundup - 25/02/24

* Isabel Hardman presents highlights from Sunday morning's political shows.  Oliver Dowden is asked to comment on provocative remarks made by multiple Tory MPs about 'Islamists'. Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham says the Tory Party is ambivalent about Islamophobia. Lisa Nandy claims no-one from Labour threatened Speaker Lindsay Hoyle over Gaza ceasefire vote. Ed Davey says he has high hopes for Lib Dem chances in the next election. And Estonia's PM is 'honoured' to be on Putin's most wanted list.  Produced by Joe Bedell-Brill. 

Feb 25