cover art for The Farage-Free Election

Politics Without The Boring Bits

The Farage-Free Election

Nigel Farage's decision not to stand for Reform UK is the first major story of the election campaign. Manveen Rana and Trevor Philips from The Times discuss how that might change Conservative fortunes.

Plus: What happened the last time Britain went to the polls in July? And two seasoned campaigners tell some of their worst war stories from the battle bus.

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  • The Exit Interviews: Dame Andrea Leadsom

    Matt sits down with the MPs leaving Parliament to find out their highs and lows, their best and worst bosses, and the lessons they've learned from politics.Serving Conservative minister and former leadership contender Dame Andrea Leadsom reflects on her time in Westminster, her difficult relationship with former Commons Speaker John Bercow, and explains why she would work for a potential Labour government.Plus: Columnists Sir Trevor Phillips and Rachel Sylvester discuss cross-party working, populist politicians, and whether Boris Johnson might make a comeback.Columnists (01:31)The Exit Interviews (24:35)
  • There's Someone In Reception

    Every local journalist has had a member of the public pitch them a news story by turning up to the newsroom reception. Sometimes these can lead to national headlines, but often they're funny, bizarre or plain mad. Matt speaks to Alex Morrison who has collected his favourite stories in a new book, and friends of the podcast send in their most memorable experiences too.PLUS: As Conservative ministers all but give up on winning the general election, Matt asks John Major's former Political Secretary Howell James how he kept fighting for every vote in the face of a Labour landslide in 1997.Tories Fighting On (02:44)There's Someone In Reception (13:52)
  • Focus Group: Weak Tea

    It's the Times Radio Focus Group, where Matt steps outside the Westminster bubble to hear the opinions of ordinary voters.This week it's a group who all voted for the SNP in 2019 but are now backing Labour, even though Keir Starmer reminds them of 'weak tea'. Matt is joined by Tom Lubbock of J.L. Partners to find out why.Plus: Columnists Manveen Rana and Matthew Parris discuss whether Rishi Sunak has given up, and The Sunday Times' Gabriel Pogrund explains what we learnt from Labour's manifesto launch. 
  • Why Politics Is Broken

    Public trust and confidence in government and the people who govern us is at a record low. Polling expert Sir John Curtice tells Matt what's behind the worrying decline, and a raft of big thinkers explain what can be done to fix it.Plus: Columnists Alice Thomson and Robert Crampton discuss Rishi Sunak growing up without Sky TV, a young, inexperienced parliament, and whether climbing walls should be in the office.The Columnists (02:55)Why Politics Is Broken (22:59)
  • The Secret Life Of A Minister

    As dozens of politicians prepare to enter high office for the first time, Matt speaks to former top civil servants Sir Alex Allan and Alun Evans, alongside former ministers Dame Margaret Beckett and Sir Alan Duncan, to find out what pitfalls they need to avoid when they're given the keys to government.Plus: The Times' Political Editor Steve Swinford explains what we learnt from Rishi Sunak's Conservative manifesto launch. Conservative Manifesto (03:17)The Secret Life Of A Minister (09:03)
  • The Exit Interviews: Brandon Lewis

    Matt sits down with MPs leaving Parliament at the next election to find out their highs and lows, their best and worst bosses, and the lessons they've learned from politics. Conservative Brandon Lewis reflects on his time in Parliament, explains why he thinks Rishi Sunak is 'managerial', and why he hosted a radio show with Eric Pickles.Plus: Columnists Rachel Sylvester and James Mariott discuss the march of the right in European elections, and Labour's tangle over plans for VAT on private schools.
  • Dominic Sandbrook's Favourite Elections

    Times Columnist and The Rest Is History co-host Dominic Sandbrook joins Matt to talk about how this election campaign compares to others throughout the post-war period, and how our current crop of politicians will be remembered in the history books.Plus: Former Number 10 adviser Cleo Watson tells Matt about her latest political 'bonkbuster', Cleavage, and 'Liz Truss' reads out some of the naughtiest bits.Cleo Watson: (03:30)Dominic Sandbrook: (12:30)
  • Focus Group: Donald Trump Of The UK

    It's the Times Radio Focus Group, where Matt steps outside the Westminster bubble to hear the opinions of ordinary voters.This month it's a group who all voted for the Conservatives in 2019 but are now thinking of backing Reform UK. They tell Matt and James Johnson of J.L. Partners that Nigel Farage is the "Donald Trump of the UK" and their advice to Rishi Sunak is to "pack your suitcase". Plus: Columnists Manveen Rana and Tom McTague discuss whether lying is new in politics.Columnists (02.43)Focus Group (21:22)
  • The Debate Unpacked: Absolute Garbage

    Matt is joined by Tim Shipman to unpack the action from Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer's first head-to-head debate of the campaign. Starmer talks up his father's toolmaking career while Sunak accuses Labour of planning a £2,000 tax on working households.Plus: Alice Thomson and Robert Crampton discuss whether there's more to the Lib Dems than meets the eye, misogyny in Young Farmers groups and whether Robert can make it as a London tour guide.Columnists (03:28)The Debate Unpacked (23:41)