POLITICO's Westminster Insider

POLITICO's Westminster Insider

POLITICO’s weekly political series hosted by Jack Blanchard lifts the curtain on how Westminster really works, offering in-depth insight into the political issues which typically only get broad-brush treatment in the wider media.... Show More

Episodes

March 4, 2021 38 min

Jack speaks to Richard Wilson, Cabinet secretary under Tony Blair, about his years as Whitehall's top official, and his memories of crises including the 9/11 terror attacks. Suzanne Heywood, widow of the legendary Cabinet secretary Jeremy Heywood, reflects on her late husband's long career in government and considers the extent to which unelected officials can end up shaping government policy. The Institute for Government&#...

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February 25, 2021 38 min

As Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, finalizes his speech ahead of next week's Budget, Jack Blanchard looks back at the pitfalls and disasters which have plagued Chancellors in years gone by.

Former Treasury aide and official Ed Balls recalls his old boss Gordon Brown's 10p tax band fiasco. Philip Hammond's former media adviser Poppy Trowbridge picks over the 2017 U-turn on national insurance. Former Chancellor G...

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Jack Blanchard abandons Westminster for a week and explores the hidden costs of lockdown, by delving into the postbags of two MPs in different parts of the U.K.

Tory MP Robert Halfon explains the struggles families face in his corner of Essex, and warns of rising domestic abuse during lockdown. And one of his constituents explains how abuse victims are repeatedly failed by Britain's secretive family courts system. In Bristol, La...

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Jack sits down with Britain's top epidemiologist, Professor Neil Ferguson, to discuss how the next few months of the coronavirus pandemic are likely to pan out — and why things went so badly wrong last year.

Professor Neil Ferguson, the man dubbed "Professor Lockdown" explains his "fervent hope" that Britain's astonishing vaccine successes mean life can finally start getting back to something like normal in 2...

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February 4, 2021 39 min

As Boris Johnson ponders how to woo the newly-elected President Joe Biden, Jack Blanchard looks back at how past prime ministers have tried to charm their counterparts in the White House — with varying degrees of success.

Theresa May's former comms chief Katie Perrior reflects on the thankless task of trying to build a relationship with the erratic Donald Trump. Historians Andrew Roberts and Richard Aldous look back at how Winst...

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Jack hears from former Chancellor George Osborne about how these morning memos are devoured by senior politicians and newspaper editors alike; and from current and veteran authors including Esther Webber, Paul Waugh and Benedict Brogan about their daily struggle to get the email out on time. Former government special adviser Jamie Njoku-Goodwin discusses their impact inside the corridors of Whitehall; while New York Times media col...

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It's striking how few political leaders across the Western world can claim to have handled the coronavirus pandemic especially well. Throughout large parts of Europe and the Americas, politicians have been caught on the hop, reacting slowly and clumsily to the unfolding disaster. In their defense, these leaders have typically blamed what they insist is the unprecedented nature of the Covid catastrophe.

But a glance through the h...

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December 15, 2020 2 min

Westminster Insider is a weekly narrated story which lifts the curtain on how Westminster really works, and looks in-depth at political issues which typically only get broad-brush treatment in the wider media. 

In this new podcast, POLITICO’s Jack Blanchard meets with and shines a light on the politicians, experts and advisers who really drive decision-making in U.K. politics and policy.

Unafraid to get stuck into detail but with a l...

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