Whitehall Sources

Whitehall Sources

Top advisers to our significant political leaders analyse the successes and failures of today's politics, sharing their experiences of working in Whitehall. Kirsty Buchanan worked with Theresa May as PM, and Liz Truss when she was Secretary of State. Frankie Leach advised Jeremy Corbyn when he was Labour Leader. Journalist and broadcaster Calum Macdonald manages their in-tray of talking points, U-turns and crises. From parties in Westminster to the tactics of SpAds, this is your exclusive insight into how politics is done and how politicians work. Support the podcast by becoming a member at: https://plus.acast.com/s/whitehallsources. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Episodes

June 17, 2024 40 mins
The conversation discusses the recent TV moment where Beth Rigby questioned Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak individually. It explores the lack of inspiration and vision from both leaders and the sense of distrust and cynicism among the public. The conversation also touches on the manifestos of the Labour and Conservative parties, highlighting the Conservatives' blizzard of policies and the cautious approach of Labour. It emphasises th...

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The first TV debate between Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak is in the books, but what did we learn? Nigel Farage is firmly back in the UK political fray: what does this mean for the Conservatives? And former MP and housing minister Sir Brandon Lewis CBE joins to discuss how to fix the country's housebuilding problem, and why Labour might have taken a page out of the Conservatives' book when drawing up their plans.

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The conversation covers various aspects of the ongoing election campaign, including the performance of the Conservative and Labour parties, the impact of policy announcements, the handling of key issues such as Brexit and the economy, and the upcoming manifesto launches and leadership debates. The discussion also delves into the strategies and challenges faced by the party leaders, as well as the role of media and public perception...

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May 23, 2024 39 mins

Jo Tanner joins Kirsty and Calum. The conversation discusses the announcement of the general election and the strategy behind it. It explores the mishaps and challenges faced by the Conservative Party, including the timing of the announcement and the optics of the Prime Minister speaking in the rain. The conversation also delves into the potential impact of the election on issues such as the compensation scheme for victims of the c...

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Kirsty Buchanan, former special advisor to Theresa May, and Calum Macdonald discuss the prison system in the UK, and Sir Keir Starmer's six pledges for the next general election. The conversation touches on the challenges of the prison system, the need for a fresh look at remand and recall, and the importance of rehabilitation and reform. It also explores the effectiveness of political pledges and the need for realistic and achieva...

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May 9, 2024 45 mins
In this episode, Calum and Kirsty discuss the recent defection of Natalie Elphicke from the Conservative Party to Labour, the appointment of John Swinney as the new First Minister of Scotland, and the issue of antisemitism on university campuses. They highlight the controversy surrounding Elphicke's defection and the potential impact on both parties. They also discuss the challenges and opportunities facing Swinney as he takes on t...

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May 4, 2024 40 mins
We discuss the local elections in the UK and their implications for the Conservative Party and Rishi Sunak. We consider the impact of immigration on the elections, the performance of Sadiq Khan in the mayoral election in London, the role of personality in local elections, and the support for Rishi Sunak among Conservative councillors. We highlight the key wins and losses for both parties, including Labour's success in the North Eas...

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It's the eve of local elections across England and Wales, and Calum and Kirsty give the rundown on what to expect, and what they really mean. Plus as Humza Yousaf announces his resignation as First Minister, and John Swinney or Kate Forbes tipped to replace him, what comes next in Scotland? And the government announces the first departure of a failed asylum seeker to Rwanda - but they did it voluntarily, and were paid £3000 to do s...

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Kirsty's got fresh gossip from all of her swanky Westminster events about the timing of an election; Calum explains why Humza Yousaf might not be First Minister of Scotland for much longer; and will Labour be the Government to finally improve rail services?

Support the podcast by becoming a member at: https://plus.acast.com/s/whitehallsources.



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We're joined by James Price.

The conversation covers various topics including the investigation into Conservative MP Mark Menzies, standards in public life, and the ongoing debate over the Rwanda deportation bill. The hosts and guests discuss the lack of action by the Conservative Party in response to the allegations against Menzies and the need for better crisis management. They also explore the challenges of maintaining standards...

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Kirsty and Calum discuss the messaging around sending weapons to Israel after several aid workers - including three British people - were killed by the Israel Defence Forces. Plus, as Sir Keir Starmer rides high in the polls, what else should we remember on his fourth anniversary of becoming Labour leader?

Support the podcast by becoming a member at: https://plus.acast.com/s/whitehallsources.



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Calum and Kirsty discuss various topics including water companies and privatisation, Angela Rayner and housing questions, and Rishi Sunak's recent interview with William Hague. They also explore the challenges and optimism faced by being Prime Minister, the expectations placed on them, and the reality of being in that position.

Support the podcast by becoming a member at: https://plus.acast.com/s/whitehallsources.



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March 20, 2024 39 mins
Conservative psychodrama: qu'est ce que? Can the Rwanda Bill make it out of Parliament? Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves gives another pragmatism-first speech: but has she wowed us yet? And is the mounting number of potholes in roads the perfect example of broken Britain? Calum and Kirsty pick apart the biggest political stories from SW1 and beyond.

Support the podcast by becoming a member at: https://plus.acast.com/s/whitehallsourc...

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March 13, 2024 45 mins

The centre of government has failed successive prime ministers. That's according to the Institute for Government think tank, which outlines 7 recommendations for "radical reform" to make our government function better. Programme Director Alex Thomas joins Calum and Kirsty to discuss why the Cabinet Office needs to dissolve, and why Number 10 should look next door, to the Treasury, for inspiration.


Another racism row engulfs the ...

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March 7, 2024 41 mins

Calum Macdonald, Kirsty Buchanan and Chris Ward discuss the budget.

Kirsty was a Special Adviser to Theresa May and Chris was an adviser to Sir Keir Starmer, working on several budgets with the Labour leader.

The conversation discusses the recent budget and its implications. It explores the lack of impact and ill feeling within the Conservative Party. The topic of national insurance contributions is also examined, along with the publ...

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February 28, 2024 33 mins

We're joined by Director of the Project on Center-Left Renewal at the Progressive Policy Institute Claire Ainsley, who was policy director to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, to debrief on a chaotic week in Westminster and look ahead to what might come next. Did the last seven days descend into a worst case scenario for the Labour Party, or will they be feeling it could have gone worse? How might the upcoming by-election in Rochdale...

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This conversation covers the Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch's denial that the former Chairman of the Post Office had been instructed to stall payments in order to allow the government to "limp" into the next General Election, the potential for tax cuts being announced at the budget in March and what they mean for us. MPs are also debating a motion in Parliament put forward by the Scottish National Party (SNP) calling for an immed...

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February 19, 2024 36 mins
The conversation covers the Scottish Labour Party Conference, the performance of Scottish Labour, the recent by-election results, Labour's Green Prosperity Plan, Labour's relationship with business, Labour's economic challenges, the recession and the Conservative government, Reform UK and the Conservative strategy, and Labour's presidential election strategy. We're joined by Catherine MacLeod, former Special Adviser to Chancellor A...

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In this episode, Calum Macdonald and Kirsty Buchanan discuss various political topics, including Rishi Sunak's interview with Piers Morgan, his admission of the government's failure on NHS waiting lists, Wes Streeting's vision for NHS reform, and Liz Truss's PopCon event. They also explore the potential for a split in the Conservative Party and the rise of populist conservatives.


  • Rishi Sunak's interview with Piers Morgan sp...
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January 24, 2024 49 mins

Divisions within the Conservative Party and the shifting position of the Labour Party on green investment. The conversation highlights the importance of party unity and the impact of party divisions on electoral success.


We also analyze Donald Trump's victory in the New Hampshire primary and his attack on Nikki Haley. The conversation explores the appeal of populist leaders and the reasons behind their support. It emphasizes th...

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