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Politics Without The Boring Bits

What Is Starmer Waiting For?

Matt Chorley and Times Red Box Editor Patrick Maguire have been hitting up their contacts books, speaking to some of the Labour leader's closest colleagues, who are getting increasingly jittery about whether he is the man for the job. 


PLUS Libby Purves and Rachel Sylvester on early years learning and dealing with criticism.

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  • The Exit Interviews: Nickie Aiken

    53:43
    Matt Chorley sits down with MPs leaving Parliament at the next election to find out about their highs and lows, their best and worst bosses, and the lessons they've learned from politics.Conservative MP Nickie Aitken explains why she's standing down after five years, how much Liz Truss added to her mortgage, and what it's like being the MP for MPs.Plus: Columnists Rachel Sylvester and Tom McTague discuss Lee Anderson, how Nick Clegg became 'The Foreign Secretary of Facebook', and why Rishi Sunak has revived Gordon Brown's regional cabinet meetings.Columnists (04:30)The Exit Interviews (23:00)
  • Your Best Political Impressions

    51:26
    After discovering the voice of the self-service checkouts at Tesco sounds like Rishi Sunak, Matt is joined by comedians Jon Culshaw, Debra Stephenson and Rory Bremner for their best political impressions, and to rate listener's attempts. Plus: Columnists India Knight and James Marriott discuss whether protests should be banned outside MPs offices, are faux flowers naff, and why the North isn't as cool as it used to be. Columnists: (03:17)The Big Thing: (23:30)
  • Can Lindsay Hoyle Survive?

    47:11
    Matt is joined by columnists Manveen Rana and Matthew Parris to weigh up the Commons speaker's chances of survival as MPs continue to call for him to go.They also discuss Matthew's recent visit to Ukraine, where he met young people terrified about being called to the front lines.Plus: Fraud is already the most common crime in England and Wales, and new technology is making it hard to spot a scam. Matt finds out how the criminals operate, and how to protect yourself and your money. He also tries his hand at scamming Times Red Box Editor Lara Spirit.Can Lindsay Hoyle Survive? (03:26)How To Stop The Scammers (22:43) 
  • PMQs: What Was The Point In That?

    01:01:18
    Keir Starmer focuses on the Post Office Horizon scandal ahead of the Commons vote on Gaza. But have the listeners come up with better questions for the prime minister?Matt Chorley, Tim Shipman and Lara Spirit pause and unpack all the action from Westminster.Plus: Columnists Alice Thomson and Robert Crampton discuss who would want to run a public body, what NFU boss Minette Batters really thinks of politicians, and are we getting bored of by-elections?Columnists (02:20)PMQs Unpacked (17:00)
  • The Neverending Backstory

    42:38
    As a new biography of Keir Starmer tells us more about the Labour leader's childhood, Matt takes a look at the importance of a backstory - does finding out more about a politician's past make a difference to how we view them now?Then comedian Joe Lycett wades into the sewage scandal for his new TV documentary, and says he’d do a better job than Rishi Sunak if he was drunk.Plus:  A taster of the latest episode of How to Win an Election, where political masterminds Peter Mandelson, Polly Mackenzie and Daniel Finkelstein discuss how to win during a recession.How To Win An Election (01:18)Joe Lycett (05:29)Focus Group (10:23)
  • The Exit Interviews: Dehenna Davison

    42:12
    Matt Chorley sits down with MPs leaving Parliament at the next election to talk about their highs and lows, their best and worst bosses, and the lessons they've learned from politics.Conservative MP Dehenna Davison tells Matt why starting life in Westminster in her mid-20s was a steep learning curve, how suffering with chronic migraines affected her work and why she admires Liz Truss. Plus: Columnists Libby Purves and Rachel Sylvester discuss the government's move to ban mobile phones in English schools, Alexei Navalny's courage, and whether the next election could be decided in the pub.Columnists (02:09)The Exit Interviews (16:10)
  • What Do The By-Elections Mean?

    31:02
    In the wake of the by-elections in Kingswood and Wellingborough, Patrick asks whether a Labour general election victory is nailed on, if Rishi Sunak can turn things around, and how serious a threat Reform UK poses to the Tories.He speaks to Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party James Daly, Labour frontbencher Liz Kendall, Reform Party Leader Richard Tice, and polling expert Professor Sir John Curtice.
  • Sturgeon's Successor

    49:04
    It's a year since Nicola Sturgeon's surprise resignation as First Minister rocked Scottish politics and her successor Humza Yousaf has had a difficult time filling her shoes.Joined by former First Minister Alex Salmond and the SNP's former leader in Westminster Ian Blackford, Patrick asks if Yousaf has managed to escape Sturgeon's shadow. Plus: Columnists Manveen Rana and Matthew Syed discuss why David Cameron has been irritating Republicans in America, whether Westminster should ban the sale of alcohol, and why John Clees is a delight on Christmas Day. Sturgeon's Successor (23:04)
  • What's The Point Of PMQs?

    47:40
    As Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer take a break from Prime Minister's Questions during recess, Patrick asks what their weekly joust teaches us, and whether it ever truly changes the political weather. He speaks to Tom Peck from The Times and Times Radio's Jane Garvey to both deride and defend PMQs, and two former party leaders about how to make an impact from the Chamber. Plus: Columnists Robert Crampton and Hadley Freeman on how the war in Gaza is reigniting the left's antisemitism problems, the relationship test trending on TikTok, and the great washing-up bowl debate.What's The Point Of PMQs (23:42)