Westminster Insider

Westminster Insider

POLITICO’s weekly political series 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. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


December 7, 2023 44 mins

In the week Boris Johnson finally said sorry for the mistakes made by his government during the COVID-19 pandemic, host Aggie Chambre explores the art of the political apology — and asks how politicians can redeem themselves after completely screwing up. 

Johnson's former Downing Street aide Cleo Watson analyses her former boss's apology, and why he chose to deploy it this week. 

Neil Parish, the former Tory MP wh...

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With opposition parties starting to dream about life in Whitehall as the next election looms, host Aggie Chambre takes a look at how politicians actually prepare for government. 

She hears from the key players involved in the 2010 election — the last time opposition parties came to power. The former Cabinet Secretary Gus O'Donnell, then the most senior civil servant in the country, recalls an eyebrow-raising chat with David Cam...

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With opinion polls showing Donald Trump beating President Joe Biden in key battleground states a year out from the next U.S. election, podcast host Jack Blanchard asks whether Westminster is even remotely ready for the prospect of a second Trump presidency.

Britain's former Ambassador to the U.S. Kim Darroch and ex-Downing Street comms chief Katie Perrior recall their own interactions with Trump during his first tenure as president,...

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November 16, 2023 38 mins

In the week U.K Home Secretary Suella Braverman was finally sacked, host Aggie Chambre asks what you actually have to do to get fired from the government — and what the calculations are for the leaders doing the firing. 

Neil Kinnock, the former Labour leader, recalls his "underhand" sacking of two junior ministers, while Cleo Watson, a former deputy chief of staff at Downing Street, reveals the secrets of the&nb...

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November 9, 2023 38 mins

Britain's civil service is under fire like never before — criticised as an obstructionist "blob" by ministers and castigated for a "terrifyingly sh*t" response to the COVID-19 pandemic by former Downing Street aide Dominic Cummings.

So what do U.K. government officials — normally banned from speaking to the media — actually make of it all?

This week in a special 'focus group' episode, five former mid-ranking civil servants sit down w...

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As war rages in the Middle East, host Jack Blanchard sits down with Alf Dubs, the 91-year-old Labour peer who arrived in Britain on the Kindertransport — which organized the rescue of children from the Nazis — aged just six.

Dubs reflects on his experiences as a child refugee in 1939 and on how he forged a new life in the U.K. He explains why he got into politics, and how he has since devoted much of his life to helping other young ...

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October 12, 2023 41 mins

With Labour Party leader Keir Starmer dragging his party onto the center ground, host Aggie Chambre asks what remains of the left in Britain — and what the future may hold for this increasingly marginalized group.

She hears from three Labour MPs in the left-wing socialist campaign group, all former members of Jeremy Corbyn's shadow Cabinet. Dawn Butler, Clive Lewis and Ian Lavery describe a widespread sense of nervousness at being a...

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One year on from Liz Truss’ chaotic premiership, host Ailbhe Rea takes on what remains a controversial topic: the role free-market think tanks really play in our politics. 

Ailbhe interviews the co-founder of one of these free-market think tanks, the ASI’s Madsen Pirie, and hears his candid account of how they wield influence across Westminster.  

Then we dive inside the funding of these think tanks, with the man who b...

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September 28, 2023 41 mins

With Conservative Party conference about to commence, host Aggie Chambre asks the question on everyone's lips: What the hell is the point of the conference season anyway? 

She speaks to former Deputy Prime Minister Michael Hesiltine about what conferences used to be like in years gone by. Sky News' Sam Coates and POLITICO's own Jack Blanchard talk about their importance for journalists, and how and when conference events c...

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September 21, 2023 39 mins

Host Ailbhe Rea hits the campaign trail in the greater Glasgow constituency of Rutherglen and Hamilton West, where a high-profile by-election battle between Labour and the ruling Scottish National Party looks very much like next year's general election in Scotland in microcosm.

Ailbhe meets the leaders of the two parties battling it out here: the SNP leader and Scottish First Minister, Humza Yousaf, and the Scottish Labour leader, A...

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This week host Aggie Chambre sits down with her old boss Robert Peston, the TV journalist who shot to fame during the last financial crash. 

Almost two decades on, ITV's political editor remains one of the best-known faces in U.K. politics. He's also joined a celebrity band with his pal Ed Balls, launched a high-profile podcast, and just published his second novel, a fictional work set in the chaos of the 2007/08 financial melt...

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September 7, 2023 45 mins

In the week we marked the first anniversary of Liz Truss taking office — and Boris Johnson leaving Downing Street — host Aggie Chambre explores what former prime ministers do next with their lives.

Former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, fired by Truss 38 days into her 45 day premiership, talks of the “emptiness” and “numbness” that comes with leaving Downing Street, and how he felt “let down” by his old friend. 

Speaking agency found...

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As MPs return to parliament after the summer break, host Ailbhe Rea and an array of expert guests provide an essential briefing on everything that’s coming up in British politics over the next few months.

The Spectator’s political editor Katy Balls takes Ailbhe through Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s "not-a-reset" leadership reset, and explains No. 10's thinking around reshuffles, the King's Speech, the party conferences ... and its pl...

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August 24, 2023 38 mins

With Westminster largely empty during the summer recess, host Aggie Chambre heads out of London to watch MPs in different parts of the country meet the people who really matter — the voters.

At constituency surgeries in Glasgow East, Pontypridd and North Norfolk, Aggie watches politicians help desperate constituents who have nowhere else to turn, hearing heartbreaking stories of poverty as well as local rows about overgrown tre...

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August 17, 2023 1 min
Westminster Insider will be back next Friday! Hosts Aggie Chambre and Ailbhe Rea chat about what to expect from season 11 of the weekly podcast from POLITICO.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

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July 6, 2023 40 mins

In the final episode of the season, host Aggie Chambre explores the clandestine operations, secretive briefing wars and campaign stunts that make up the darker side of politics — and asks if there is still a place for such activities in 2023. 

She speaks to crossbench peer John Woodcock, who — in a former life — was a Labour Party researcher and occasional undercover spy. He tells Aggie how one secret mission in 2005 ...

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June 29, 2023 46 mins

In the second half of a two-part profile, hosts Ailbhe Rea and Aggie Chambre take a closer look at the man hoping to become Britain's next prime minister.

This week they take listeners through Starmer's political career so far, from entering parliament as a political novice in 2015, through the difficult days of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, to his own successful leadership bid and beyond.

They hear from Starmer's closest political adv...

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June 22, 2023 43 mins

In the first part of a major profile of Labour leader Keir Starmer, podcast hosts Ailbhe Rea and Aggie Chambre take a deeper look at the man hoping to become Britain's next prime minister.

Starting their journey from the kitchen of the house in Surrey where Starmer grew up, they follow his path through childhood and university toward a stellar legal career, speaking to those who’ve known him along the way.

Andrew Cooper, a schoolfrie...

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Two weeks ago, POLITICO revealed Geraint Davies was accused of sexual harassment by 5 different women. The Labour MP said he did not recognize the allegations but apologized if he inadvertently caused offence to anyone.

This week, host Aggie Chambre asks why we keep hearing new allegations of sexual misconduct and bullying in the British parliament, and asks what can be done to make it better.

She speaks to her POLITICO colleague Est...

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Host Ailbhe Rea explores how and why dealing with migrants crossing the English Channel has shot to the top of the prime minister’s to-do list — and what he’s actually doing about it.

Pollster Scarlett Maguire outlines the political headache for Sunak, while disgruntled Tory MP Matt Warman explains how this has now become the top issue of concern for his constituents in Boston and Skegness — hundreds of miles from the Kent coast.


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