POLITICO's Westminster Insider
Meet Fiona Hill: Inside the collapse of Theresa May’s government
Season 9, Ep. 4
Co-host Aggie Chambre sits down for a rare interview with former Downing Street chief of staff Fiona Hill to talk about her central role in Theresa May's first government, the astonishing highs and disastrous lows of life in No. 10, and the devastating impact of being fired after the failed 2017 general election.
Hill reveals the years of secret plotting behind Theresa May's successful bid to become prime minister; the inner workings of May's dysfunctional Downing Street operation; and the surprising politician who helped her when she was floored by her departure from No. 10.
Friday, May 19, 2023
Why the hell would you work for an MP?
Season 10, Ep. 1
In a special episode, host Aggie Chambre gathers a group of 20-something politicos who spent years working as aides and researchers for some of Britain's best-known politicians — and hears what working for an MP is really like.They tell stories of drunken sleepovers in parliament, MPs' texts at 4 a.m., and high-pressure casework for distraught constituents which changed their lives forever. And the group explains how in the world of Westminster, your MP is also your "judge, jury, and executioner" — meaning if you work for the wrong person, things can quickly go badly wrong.
Friday, April 7, 2023
Inside the room: The Good Friday Agreement 25 years on
Season 9, Ep. 8
In a special anniversary episode 25 years on from the agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland, host Ailbhe Rea heads home to Belfast to retell the gripping story of how a historic compromise was reached.Former British PM Tony Blair and former Irish premier Bertie Ahern explain why — and how — they decided to pursue a peace deal when they both came to power in 1997, and recall key moments of drama from inside the negotiating room.David Kerr, right-hand man to the late David Trimble — the UUP leader who would go on to win the Nobel Peace prize for his role in the talks — describes the splits and crises within unionism at the time, while chief SDLP negotiator Mark Durkan, later to become deputy first minister of Northern Ireland, explains how his boss John Hume’s thinking infused the entire peace process.Mitchel McLaughlin, spokesperson for Sinn Féin during the negotiations, describes the challenge his party’s leadership faced in trying to take the entire republican movement with them. Jonathan Powell, chief of staff to Blair, explains what it was like to face Sinn Fein across the negotiating table. And Monica McWilliams, co-founder of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition, shares her memories of those tense final days and hours inside Castle Buildings.Ailbhe also meets Cathy McCann and Betty Speers, two victims of an IRA bomb in 1990 — Cathy was severely injured and Betty’s brother was killed — as they reflect on what the Good Friday Agreement means to them. And Ailbhe ends the episode with Sara Canning, the partner of the late journalist Lyra McKee, who was killed by dissident republicans on the 21st anniversary of the agreement, four years ago.
Friday, March 31, 2023
How to become an MP
Season 9, Ep. 7
In the week Jeremy Corbyn was blocked from running again as a Labour MP, host Aggie Chambre takes a look at the secretive world of MPs' selections — and learns how insidery cliques, funding and old-school sexism can all be barriers to entry.Aggie takes a road trip with the man who helped select Rishi Sunak for his North Yorkshire seat, and hears more about the prime minister's slick sales pitch to local members. Tory peer Anne Jenkin discusses her efforts to get more women into parliament, while Labour MP Stella Creasy recalls what it's actually like to go through the high-pressure selection process. Aggie also speaks to journalist Michael Crick about his work cataloguing the 2024 election candidates selected so far, and to author Isabel Hardman on why we get the wrong politicians. And former Momentum boss Jon Lansman has his say on Corbyn's de-selection, and explains how he believes selection 'stitch ups' in the Labour Party could lead to the rise of fascism in Britain.