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The Week in Westminster

BBC

Radio 4's weekly assessment of developments at Westminster

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London, United Kingdom

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BBC

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Radio 4's weekly assessment of developments at Westminster

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English


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Episodes
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20/04/2024

4/20/2024
Sonia Sodha of The Observer is joined by a range of guests to analyse the latest developments at Westminster. To discuss the confrontation between Israel and Iran she speaks to former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith and former British diplomat Sir William Patey. Following newspaper allegations about Conservative MP Mark Menzies she looks at how parties deal with such issues with Francis Elliott, editor of The House magazine, and Anne Perkins, a former political correspondent for The Guardian. Paul Johnson of The Institute for Fiscal Studies explains some new research looking at the success of SureStart and discusses how future governments can do meaningful social policy in an era of fiscal restraint. And, to reflect on the release of Liz Truss's book and her opposition to Rishi Sunak's smoking ban, Sonia is joined by Mark Littlewood, director of the Truss-supporting 'Popular Conservatism' group, and Anna Soubry, a former Conservative MP and public health minister.

Duration:00:27:55

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23/03/2024

3/23/2024
Steve Richards is joined by a panel of guests to discuss the political landscape ahead of a general election. Steve is joined by The Spectator's Fraser Nelson, Whitehall Editor at the Financial Times, Lucy Fisher, and Britan Editor at the New Statesman, Anoosh Chakelian.

Duration:00:27:59

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16/03/2024

3/16/2024
George Parker, political editor of the Financial Times, looks back at the political week in which the Conservative party's biggest donor, Frank Hester, was reported to have used racist language about Diane Abbott, Britain's first black woman MP. It overshadowed a new government announcement on extremism which was unveiled by Communities Secretary Michael Gove. To discuss both those stories George is joined by one of the Conservative party's most prominent black politicians, Shaun Bailey, who was a former candidate for Mayor of London and now sits in the House of Lords, and Lord Mann, a former Labour MP who is now the government's independent adviser on antisemitism. Following news that the government intends to bring forward a mechanism to ban foreign state ownership of UK newspapers George is joined by Baroness Stowell, Conservative Chair of the Lords Communication and Digital Committee, and Lionel Barber, the former editor of the Financial Times. The Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, was quizzed by MPs this week about his Budget in which he made a further cut to National Insurance. Lord Macpherson, a former Permanent Secretary to the Treasury, discusses whether the Chancellor could phase out national insurance altogether and looks at the economic situation in this election year and beyond. And, after a torrid week, are the wheels coming off the Number Ten operation? And can anything lift the darkening mood among Tory MPs? To discuss that George brings together Sir Craig Oliver, former Downing Street Director of Communications, and Katy Balls, political editor of The Spectator.

Duration:00:27:36

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09/03/2024

3/9/2024
Pippa Crerar, political editor at The Guardian, dicusses the Budget with Dame Angela Eagle, Labour MP on the treasury Select Committee and Stephen Hammond, Conservative MP on the treasury Select Committee. She then discusses the Rwanda legislation in the House of Lords with Baroness Shami Chakrabarti and Baroness Catherine Meyer. There's an interview with Mark Drakeford, first minister of Wales who will step down later this month. Plus, what if the US and UK election campaigns coincide? With Lord Kim Darroch, former UK ambassador to USA and Lord Daniel Finkelstein, former national security adviser.

Duration:00:27:56

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02/03/2024

3/2/2024
Bloomberg's Emily Ashton discusses the latest developments at Westminster. Emily is joined by Lord Barwell, who served as Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, Theresa May in Downing Street, and former political adviser to the Labour Party, John McTernan, as they discuss the results of the Rochdale by-election. To discuss Islamophobia, Emily is joined by Baron Walney, the government’s independent adviser on political violence and disruption, and Baroness Gohir, who leads the charity, Muslim Women's Network UK. Emily is joined by the Institute for Government's Jill Rutter, and Dame Sara Thornton, the UK's former Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner to discuss the role of commissioners and independent advisers, following the sacking of David Neal, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration. And finally, as the Prime Minister hosted a cabinet in Yorkshire this week, Emily brings together the Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, and Seb Payne, Director of the centre right think tank, Onward, to discuss the importance of politicians getting out of Westminster.

Duration:00:27:56

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24/02/2024

2/24/2024
Following the chaotic scenes in Parliament on Wednesday Sonia Sodha of The Observer analyses the political week. Dr Ruth Fox of The Hansard Society explains why an opposition day debate about Gaza, and calls for a ceasefire, descended in to bitter arguments about parliamentary procedure. John Nicolson of the SNP discusses why his party thinks the Commons Speaker should resign over the issue. And, to reflect on the wider crisis, Sonia speaks to former Middle East Minister Tobias Ellwood and the Chair of the International Development Select Committee, Sarah Champion, who has just returned from a trip to the Egypt-Gaza border. On Monday the Business Secretary, Kemi Badenoch, gave a robust response to claims made by the former Chairman of the Post Office who she had previously sacked over the Horizon scandal. Sonia speaks to two MPs who were in the chamber for that statement: Conservative Conor Burns and Labour's Kevan Jones, who has campaigned for many years on behalf of wrongly convicted sub-postmasters. And, after Keir Starmer's chief of staff suggested Labour could make use of citizens' assemblies to decide on contentious issues, Sonia brings together Louise Caldwell, who took part in the Irish citizens' assembly on abortion, and Joe Twyman of Deltapoll, who has helped run such assemblies in the past.

Duration:00:27:50

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10/02/2024

2/10/2024
Radio 4's weekly assessment of developments at Westminster

Duration:00:28:08

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03/02/2024

2/2/2024
Ben Riley-Smith of The Daily Telegraph discusses the latest developments at Westminster in the week that the Democratic Unionist Party ended its boycott of the Northern Ireland Assembly after reaching a deal with the UK government over post-Brexit trading arrangements. Ben speaks to the Conservative chairman of Parliament's Northern Ireland Committee, Sir Robert Buckland MP, and Claire Hanna, MP for the nationalist SDLP. To discuss Nicola Sturgeon's evidence to the Covid inquiry, and her legacy as Scotland's First Minister, Ben speaks to Ian Blackford MP, former SNP Westminster leader, and Kezia Dugdale, ex leader of Scottish Labour and now director of the John Smith Centre at the University of Glasgow. The Foreign Secretary, Lord Cameron, declared this week that the UK is ready to bring forward formal recognition of a Palestinian state. To analyse that Ben is joined by Tom Fletcher, formerly David Cameron's foreign affairs adviser and then UK Ambassador to Lebanon, and Alicia Kearns MP, the Conservative chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. And, as Labour begins formal 'access talks' with the civil service, Ben gets some reflections on how the civil service approaches such talks with the former Cabinet Secretary Robin, now Lord, Butler.

Duration:00:27:59

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27/01/2024

1/27/2024
Pippa Crerar, political editor of The Guardian analyses the latest political developments at Westminster. Former Conservative Cabinet Minister Damian Green and Labour MP Sarah Owen discuss whether the government should introduce tax cuts in the forthcoming Budget. This week marks the centenary of the first Labour government. Journalist and broadcaster Anne Perkins and Tom Baldwin, former Labour adviser and author of ‘Keir Starmer: The Biography’, discuss what that victory meant for the Labour movement and the current fortunes of Keir Starmer. The newly-appointed chair of the Standards in Public Life Committee, Doug Chalmers, discusses his new role. And, Katy Balls, Political Editor of The Spectator magazine, discusses the digital strategy of political parties with Tom Edmonds, who runs a digital consultancy. He also worked for the Conservative party and ran their digital campaigns, under David Cameron, at the 2015 election.

Duration:00:28:08

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20/01/2024

1/19/2024
Paul Waugh, chief political commentator of the i Newspaper, assesses the latest developments in Westminster. In a week of challenges for the Conservative Party over their Rwanda plan, Paul is joined by Sir John Hayes MP and Labour's Baroness Hayter, to discuss what happens next. Meanwhile in the small Swiss town of Davos, government ministers and tech billionaires rub shoulders to discuss global challenges. Former Downing Street Director of Communications, Guto Harri, is joined from Davos by the Financial Times' Gillian Tett to discuss what it's all about. Gareth Davies, Comptroller & Auditor General of the National Audit Office sets out the challenges facing government following his speech to Parliament this week. And finally, in a week of polls, Deltapoll's Joe Twyman and Sophie Stowers from UK in a changing Europe, discuss how seriously we should take the polls as we prepare for a general election this year.

Duration:00:27:34

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13/01/2024

1/13/2024
George Parker, political editor of the Financial Times, assesses the latest developments at Westminster as the Prime Minister authorises air strikes against Houthi rebels in the Red Sea and pays a surprise trip to Ukraine. George speaks to former UK ambassador to Washington and former national security adviser, Lord Darroch, about the military action and the global security situation. With the Post Office scandal taking centre stage in Parliament this week George brings together Conservative MP and former postal services minister, Paul Scully, and SNP MP and chair of the Post Office All Party Parliamentary Group, Marion Fellows. Conservative MP Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg and Labour's Dame Angela Eagle debate the role of the Office for Budget Responsibility in shaping economic policy. And, as Rishi Sunak pitches himself as the continuity candidate ahead of a general election, George speaks to John Major's former political secretary, Lord Hill, and Keir Starmer's former director of policy, Claire Ainsley, about whether the 1992 election provides any lessons for the main parties.

Duration:00:28:07

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16/12/2023

12/16/2023
Radio 4's weekly assessment of developments at Westminster

Duration:00:28:02

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09/12/2023

12/9/2023
Radio 4's weekly assessment of developments at Westminster

Duration:00:28:10

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02/12/2023

12/2/2023
The Observer's Sonia Sodha and guests look back on the political week. Conservative MP Danny Kruger and executive co-chair of the National Care Association Nadra Ahmed discuss migration and social care. Labour MP and former culture secretary Ben Bradshaw and Conservative MP and chair of the British Museum APPG Tim Loughton talk about the row over the Parthenon sculptures. PMQs is dissected by Ayesha Hazarika, former political adviser to Ed Miliband and Harriet Harman, and Sir Craig Oliver, former director of communications at No 10 under David Cameron. And the late Alistair Darling is remembered by Catherine MacLeod and Torsten Bell, who were both his former advisers.

Duration:00:28:05

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25/11/2023

11/25/2023
Ben Riley-Smith and guests look back on a week in which the general election battle lines became clearer. Did the Chancellor's Autumn Statement give with one hand to take away with another? Are the UK's net migration figures unsustainably high? How are the main parties selecting candidates for the next election? And what's the point of state visits? Producer: Leala Padmanabhan

Duration:00:28:08

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18/11/2023

11/18/2023
What's the future for the UK's plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda? Does Rishi Sunak have an ideological core? What are the UK's big challenges on the world stage? And what role does the 'people's channel' GB News have in political culture?

Duration:00:28:00

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28/10/2023

10/28/2023
Radio 4's weekly assessment of developments at Westminster

Duration:00:28:07

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21/10/2023

10/21/2023
Is Labour on course for government after its historic by-election wins? How are MPs personally affected by the Israel Gaza conflict? Are politicians operating in an era of no money? And might Rishi Sunak defy the bookies and call a general election in the spring, or push on until January 2025? Financial Times political editor George Parker and guests look back on a busy week in Westminster as MPs returned after the party conferences.

Duration:00:28:08

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09/09/2023

9/9/2023
Sonia Sodha of The Observer analyses the latest developments at Westminster as politicians return from their summer break. Following the concrete crisis in schools she speaks to the Conservative chairman of the Education Select Committee and former education minister, Robin Walker, and Dame Meg Hillier, Labour chair of the Public Accounts Committee. To analyse the latest revisions in GDP data, which showed the UK had fared much better following the pandemic than previously thought, Sonia is joined by Professor of Economics at Cambridge University, Diane Coyle. As MPs debate the government's Energy Bill Sonia brings together the former Environment Secretary, George Eustice, and Parliament's only Green MP, Caroline Lucas, to discuss whether Tory factionalism is harming the transition to net zero. And, as Keir Starmer's shadow cabinet reshuffle prompts headlines about the 'return of the Blairites', she speaks to Tony Blair's former Chief Whip, Hilary Armstrong, and Times political correspondent, Patrick Maguire.

Duration:00:28:06

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15/07/2023

7/15/2023
The i Newspaper's Chief Political Commentator, Paul Waugh, discusses the biggest political stories of the week with guests. Paul Waugh discusses the public sector pay settlements with former Treasury Minister, Dame Angela Eagle, and the Conservative Chair of the Education Select Committee, Robin Walker. Baroness Catherine Ashton, former High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, delivers her assessment of the NATO Summit. Labour Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Dame Diana Johnson, and fellow Conservative Committee member, Tim Loughton, discuss the Illegal Migration Bill. And, former Conservative special adviser Sam Freedman, and The Guardian's Media Editor, Jim Waterson, discuss what the arrival of new social media app 'Threads' means for politicians and journalists.

Duration:00:28:06