Coffee House Shots

The Spectator


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

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1018 episodes

Should Sunak block Boris Johnson's honours list?

* Boris Johnson is reportedly cutting the number of names on his honours list from 100 to 60 (still much higher than the average honours list for former prime ministers). This is a Tory sleaze scandal in the making, so should Rishi Sunak think about blocking it? Or could the reminder of Johnson's flaws actually help the Sunak premiership? James Heale discusses with Katy Balls and Fraser Nelson. Produced by Cindy Yu and Kevin Swartwood.

Mar 11
Will Sunak’s charm offensive with Macron work?

* Rishi Sunak was in Paris today meeting with President Emmanuel Macron. The pair unveiled a new deal to stop the Channel crossings as part of the first Franco-British summit for five years. Will the new measures work?  Cindy Yu speaks to Fraser Nelson and Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform.

Mar 10
Is Labour saying anything new on childcare?

* The shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson is giving a speech to centre-right think tank Onward today, all about childcare. But is the party actually saying anything new on the issue? Cindy Yu talks to Katy Balls and the 's Stephen Bush. Produced by Cindy Yu.

Mar 09
Coffee House Scots – can the SNP stop the infighting?

* We had the first televised hustings for the leadership of the SNP last night, and it was a fiery affair to say the least. Will the lack of party unity end up costing the SNP?  Lucy Dunn speaks to Katy Balls and Stephen Daisley.

Mar 08
Is time running out for Simon Case?

* It's been reported that more damaging messages sent by Cabinet Secretary Simon Case during the pandemic will surface in the Daily Telegraph's Lockdown Files, leading to speculation over whether he will still be in position by the time of the King's coronation. Cindy Yu talks to Katy Balls and James Heale about whether the Cabinet Secretary will soon have to step down. Produced by Cindy Yu.

Mar 08
Will Sunak's small boats plan make any difference?

* Suella Braverman unveiled the Illegal Migration Bill today in the Commons. The Home Secretary said that Britain had been 'taken for a ride', as she revealed the government's plan to detain asylum seekers for up to 28 days 'without bail or judicial review until they can be removed'. Will this contravene the European Convention on Human Rights? And even if it does, will it make a difference to small boats crossings?  James Heale speaks to Katy Balls and Fraser Nelson.

Mar 07
Can Rishi stop small boats?

* Tomorrow the government is set to deliver its plan the tackle small boats, legislation Rishi Sunak has been promising since before Christmas. Is Rishi about to get tough on immigration? Also on the podcast, what is the latest in the Sue Gray scandal? Will this – alongside continuing questions over Simon Case – start a serious conversation about impartiality in the civil service?  Cindy Yu speaks to Katy Balls and Isabel Hardman. 

Mar 06
Isabel Hardman's Sunday Roundup – 05/03/23

* Isabel Hardman hosts the highlights from Sunday morning’s political shows. Matt Hancock's leaked WhatsApp messages dominated the interviews as Chris Heaton-Harris defended Boris Johnson, and Jonathan Ashworth called for an inquiry into what the Treasury knew about the 'eat out to help out' scheme. And on Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill called for the DUP to return to the executive. Produced by Joe Bedell-Brill.

Mar 05
Coffee House Scots – what did we learn from this week's hustings?

* It's been an interesting week in the race for the leadership of the SNP. Kate Forbes's campaign has been plunged into fresh doubt by the news that her husband attended a private Tory hustings, whilst Douglas Ross has been forced to apologise after swearing during First Minister's Questions. We also had the first televised hustings, but who came out on top?  Michael Simmons speaks to Fraser Nelson, Katy Balls and Stephen Daisley.  Produced by Oscar Edmondson. 

Mar 04
Sue Gray defects

* Cindy Yu speaks to Katy Balls and Fraser Nelson about Sue Gray's new role as Keir Starmer's chief of staff and what happened on the Tory MP's away day in Windsor. 

Mar 03
Does Boris have a point on the Protocol?

* Boris Johnson delivered his first speech since leaving No.10 and told the audience he would not be able to back Rishi Sunak's Brexit deal. Although the Windsor Framework has largely received a lukewarm reception, does Boris have a point? Also on the podcast, Sue Gray has just resigned from the civil service to become Keir Starmer's chief of staff. What could this mean politically for both parties? Natasha Feroze speaks to Katy Balls and Sam Lowe, partner at Flint.

Mar 02
Coffee House Scots – is the SNP shifting right?

* In the first of special Coffee House Scots series, Michael Simmons speaks to Isabel Hardman, Katy Balls and Stephen Daisley about the SNP leadership race. Given that the main motivation uniting the SNP is the ambition for an independent Scotland, how do the candidates differ ideologically?

Mar 01
What we learned from the lockdown files

* The has splashed on over 100,000 WhatsApp messages to and from Matt Hancock during his time as Health Secretary. Altogether they show the internal workings of the government and how key lockdown decisions were made during that time. On the podcast, James Heale talks to Katy Balls and Fraser Nelson, who has been working with the on putting these files into the public eye. Produced by Cindy Yu.

Mar 01
Has Rishi pulled this off?

* James Heale speaks to Isabel Hardman and Katy Balls about some of the key points in the Windsor Framework. Having reached an agreement with the EU, can Rishi Sunak do the same with both the Tories and the DUP?

Feb 28
Northern Ireland Protocol: is this a 'breakthrough' deal?

* Today Rishi Sunak has reached a revised agreement with the EU on Northern Ireland, and hailed it a 'turning point' for the people of Northern Ireland. But how will the DUP and – more importantly – Tory MPs, react?  Isabel Hardman speaks to Katy Balls and Sam Lowe. Produced by Oscar Edmondson. 

Feb 27
Isabel Hardman's Sunday Roundup – 26/02/23

* Isabel Hardman hosts the highlights from Sunday morning’s political shows. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab says there's 'quiet confidence' about the Northern Ireland Protocol deal. Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy said Labour would act in the 'national interest', and expects to support the deal. SNP leadership hopeful Humza Yousaf said that with sustained public support, ‘independence will absolutely be inevitable’. Produced by Joe Bedell-Brill.

Feb 26
How is the government helping Ukrainians in Britain?

* Today marks one year since Putin sent the Russian army into Kyiv. Since then, what has been the experience of the Ukrainians who fled their homes and came over to the UK? Svitlana Morenets, a staff writer at speaks to Kate Andrews about the year reporting on her war-torn country from Britain. Also joining the podcast is Matt Downie, chief executive of Crisis UK whose work involves helping those 4000 Ukrainians who arrived on the Homes for Ukraine scheme and are now at risk of homelessness. 

Feb 25
Could Kate Forbes still win?

* A poll of the SNP membership puts Kate Forbes as the frontrunner. Despite becoming embroiled in a row over her religious views, Forbes enjoys the support of 28 per cent of members, compared to Humza Yousaf's 20 per cent. Could she win the contest?  Cindy Yu speaks to Katy Balls and James Heale.

Feb 24
Was there anything Labour about Labour's five missions?

* Keir Starmer has set out Labour's five missions for government in a speech today, but was there anything Labour about them? Cindy Yu talks to Katy Balls and Isabel Hardman about where this speech leaves the Labour party's chances to win the next election. Also on the podcast: the government's plan to cut the asylum backlog. Produced by Cindy Yu.

Feb 23
Will there be resignations over Northern Ireland?

* Rishi Sunak continues to try to get his MPs onside when it comes to the government's deal with the EU on the Northern Ireland Protocol. Some Eurosceptics have warned that the Prime Minister could see resignations from his government if this is handled badly, with some touting Home Secretary Suella Braverman's name. What's the latest? James Heale talks to Fraser Nelson and Isabel Hardman. Produced by Oscar Edmondson and Cindy Yu.

Feb 22
Is Rishi Sunak repeating May's mistakes?

* Today was meant to be the day that Rishi Sunak presented his Northern Ireland Protocol plans to parliament, instead he told the cabinet that intensive negotiations continue with the EU. Is he doomed to repeat Theresa May's Brexit mistakes? Will he need the backing of the DUP for any agreement? Also on the podcast, as prospective SNP leader Kate Forbes continues to defend her views on gay marriage, can her campaign survive? Cindy Yu speaks to Isabel Hardman and Patrick O'Flynn.  Produced by Cindy Yu and Oscar Edmondson. 

Feb 21
Is there a campaign to stop Forbes?

* Scotland's finance secretary, Kate Forbes has formally declared her campaign to be leader of the SNP. Currently the bookies' favourite – what direction would she take the party in? Also on the podcast, will there be more news on the Northern Ireland protocol this week?

Feb 20
Is Scottish independence dead?

* After the news this week that Nicola Sturgeon will step aside as leader of the Scottish National Party, can the cause of Scottish independence survive without her?  James Heale speaks to Katy Balls and James Johnson, former Downing Street pollster and co-founder of JL Partners. 

Feb 18
Will the DUP accept Sunak’s deal?

* As it looks like the government is about to agree a new deal with the European Union on the Northern Ireland Protocol, Rishi Sunak is in Belfast today meeting with the DUP. Will they accept a compromise? Max Jeffery speaks to Isabel Hardman and Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform. Produced by Max Jeffery.

Feb 17
How powerful is Keir Starmer?

* With Labour nearly 30 points ahead in the polls, Keir Starmer is consolidating his position at the top. He said yesterday that Jeremy Corbyn will not stand as a Labour candidate in the next election, and he could be looking to reshuffle his shadow cabinet soon. How much power does Starmer have? Could he completely cut Labour's ties to the trade unions? James Heale speaks to Katy Balls and the 's Patrick Maguire. Produced by Cindy Yu and Max Jeffery.

Feb 16
Is Sunak making a mistake on the NI protocol?

* James Heale speaks to Katy Balls and Conservative Home editor Paul Goodman about the union. Both in terms of Nicola Sturgeon's sudden decision to resign this morning and the possibility of an imminent agreement on the Northern Ireland protocol. 

Feb 15
Nicola Sturgeon resigns – why now?

* Nicola Sturgeon has announced her resignation as First Minister of Scotland. James Heale speaks to Katy Balls and Isabel Hardman about her decision to leave and Sturgeon's nine years as leader. 

Feb 15
Is Rishi Sunak tough enough on China?

* Ben Wallace, the Secretary of State for defence has launched a security review in the wake of Chinese spy balloons entering Western airspace. This accelerated a row over defence spending ahead of the Spring Budget. How far is the government willing to go under pressure over the Ukraine war and now an intensified Chinese threat? James Heale speaks to Cindy Yu and Katy Balls. To learn more about Chinese politics, society and culture, listen to Chinese Whispers podcast.

Feb 14
Is there a plot to unravel Brexit?

* Whilst the government is in recess, a group of cross-party politicians joined a private meeting to discuss 'How we can make Brexit work better with our European neighbours?' Are the critics right that this is an attempt to unravel Brexit?  Also on the podcast, Labour dropped their GPC files [government procurement cards] early this morning – what can be learnt from their big scoop? Natasha Feroze speaks to Katy Balls and James Heale.

Feb 13
Was Liz Truss right?

* This week has seen the return of Liz Truss, firstly with her op-ed in the and then her Spectator TV exclusive interview. Has enough time passed to revise our opinion of her pro-growth agenda? Cindy Yu speaks to Fraser Nelson and Kate Andrews. 

Feb 11