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Politics Without The Boring Bits

Election First Impressions

As the election campaign kicks off in earnest, comedians Lewis Macleod, Nerine Skinner and Rory Bremner join Matt for their best political impressions, and listeners send in their own.

Plus: Columnists James Marriott and India Knight discuss Jeremy Corbyn running as an independent, Rishi Sunak's shelved smoking bill, and politicians using football to appear more relatable.

The Columnists: (03:00)

The Big Thing: (23:10)

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  • 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)
  • The Rest Is Rory Stewart

    Would former Tory minister Rory Stewart make another foray into politics? The podcaster, author and ex-diplomat tells Matt how he'd fix Westminster, why he'd much rather be PM than host a podcast, and what keeps him up at night.Plus: Comedian Al Murray takes us back to 2015, when he ran against Nigel Farage in Thanet South. Al Murray vs Nigel Farage: (5:10)The Big Thing - Rory Stewart: (8:50)
  • The Exit Interviews: Robert Halfon

    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.Former minister Robert Halfon tells Matt why he thinks all MPs should have round-the-clock personal security, and which Lord of the Rings character Rishi Sunak resembles.Plus: Libby Purves and Rachel Sylvester discuss whether the Conservatives can benefit from the culture wars, how an international organised crime gang stole millions from the British taxpayer, and whether the next prime minister should take an oath of office.Columnist Panel (04:18)The Exit Interview (23:41)