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Bloomberg Westminster

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Bloomberg Westminster is your daily guide to British politics. In less than half an hour, we'll tell you what's happening and explain why it matters. Plus, interviews with MPs, policy experts, and Bloomberg's own team of political journalists. Presented by Caroline Hepker and Roger Hearing.

415 Episodes
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Disastrous results for Labour in local and regional elections, followed by a messy shadow cabinet reshuffle, have raised massive questions about the party's future. David Kogan, author of "Protest and Power: The Battle for the Labour Party" tells Bloomberg Westminster's Caroline Hepker and Roger Hearing the party can win again, but the leadership needs to establish what it's for and what it's trying to achieve. Plus Andrew Harrop, general secretary of the Fabian Society, joins to discuss how to win back the voters who have turned away, and explains how social liberalism can still win elections.
David Cameron is under scrutiny by MPs as he is asked about his work lobbying for the collapsed finance firm Greensill Capital. Crispin Blunt, Conservative MP for Reigate tells Bloomberg Westminster's Caroline Hepker and Roger Hearing the system worked because Greensill did not, in the end, get any government loans. But he would like to ask Cameron whether it wasn't deeply embarrassing that, after himself identifying influence peddling as the next big parliamentary scandal, he then took a lobbying job. Plus Chris White, former special advisor to several Conservative Cabinet Ministers, and now co-head of advocacy at SEC Newgate, joins to discuss what reform is needed in lobbying and how far any of it matters to voters.
The prime minister has promised an inquiry into the government's handling of the pandemic. But Joey Jones, senior counsel at Grayling, says such a probe could take years. He tells Bloomberg Westminster's Caroline Hepker and Yuan Potts that the political weather has changed radically for the Conservatives in the space of a week. Plus Bloomberg Opinion's Therese Raphael joins to dissect the Queen's Speech, the Greensill hearings and the future of the Labour party.
Iain Duncan Smith, former Conservative party leader and MP for Chingford and Woodford Green discusses the government legislative agenda but takes aim at the reforms to planning laws. He tells Bloomberg Westminster's Caroline Hepker and Yuan Potts that voters in red wall constituencies have more in common with middle class southern voters than they think. Plus as Lex Greensill faces the Treasury Select Committee to address the collapse of his firm and its lobbying of government. Jon Gerlis, public relations and policy manager at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations says there should be reform to register all lobbyists and tougher rules for the sector.
Labour had a bad set of results in last week's elections, losing to the Conservatives particularly badly in the once safe-seat of Hartlepool. Matthew Goodwin, politics and international relations professor at the University of Kent tells Bloomberg Westminster's Caroline Hepker and Roger Hearing this is a crisis of identity for the Labour Party, with them losing the support of the sort of people the party was founded to represent. The same elections saw the SNP back in power, with a workable majority, with Green support, for a new independence referendum. David Phillips, associate director at the Institute for Fiscal Studies joins to discuss the financial viability of an independent Scotland.
The Scottish National Party and Boris Johnson's government will be holding their breath over the weekend as the results from the Scottish parliamentary elections are tallied. If the SNP get a clear majority in Holyrood, the argument for a new independence referendum will be immensely strengthened. Alison Thewliss, Scottish National Party MP for Glasgow Central tells Bloomberg Westminster's Caroline Hepker and Roger Hearing independence is only part of what the SNP wants to achieve and the party can't commit to a date for a second referendum. Stephen Kerr, Scottish Conservative Party politician and former MP for Stirling says, if there were a majority for independence at Holyrood, his party would have to take a long hard look at the referendum issue.
As polling gets under way in local and regional elections across the U.K., we take the opportunity to focus on politics across the Channel. Alex Clarkson, lecturer in German and European Studies at King's College London tells Bloomberg Westminster's Caroline Hepker and Roger Hearing it has been hard for Germans to find a replacement for chancellor Angela Merkel, and the Greens are on the rise. Philippe Marlière, director of European & International Social & Political Studies at University College London, joins to discuss the challenge in France to Emmanuel Macron from the far-right Marine Le Pen in next April's presidential elections.
The London mayoral race has 20 candidates, and the youngest is 23 year-old YouTube star Niko Omilana. He has 3.4 million YouTube subscribers and is the first choice for City Hall for five percent of Londoners, according to an ITV London News poll. Niko tells Bloomberg Westminster's Caroline Hepker and Roger Hearing he is the only honest candidate, and discusses some of his policies - free public transport for under 18s and over 69s, a 6.9% increase for the minimum wage, and Eid, Christmas, Diwali, Yom Kippur and Vaisakhi to become bank holidays. Plus Bloomberg Opinion Columnist Therese Raphael joins to consider the latest polling for the regional and local elections, and French threats to cut off the electricity for Jersey over post-Brexit fishing disputes.
Polling suggests Labour will not do as well as they had hoped in Thursday's regional and local votes in England, and could lose the Hartlepool by-election. Fleur Anderson, Labour MP for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields tells Bloomberg Westminster's Caroline Hepker and Roger Hearing she expects Labour to do well, but it's hard to turn the party's fortunes around so quickly after the disastrous 2019 vote. Plus Chris Curtis, senior research manager at ‎Opinium discusses the latest polls suggesting that the sleaze allegations are beginning to affect voters, and that the outcome of the Scottish parliament election is on a knife edge for the SNP getting a majority.
Northern Ireland is marking its centenary with doubts growing about its status as a result of the trade arrangements from the post-Brexit protocol. John Finucane, Sinn Fein MP for Belfast North tells Bloomberg Westminster's Caroline Hepker and Roger Hearing his party is not pushing for an immediate referendum on a united Ireland. Claire Sugden, independent unionist member of the Northern Ireland Assembly for East Londonderry tells us the province has a legacy of pain and hurt, but she could see it lasting for another century. And Duncan Morrow, Politics Professor at Ulster University warns about the threat to the peace agreement from the difficulties that have followed Brexit.
The by-election in Hartlepool on Thursday is being closely watched - it's one of the so-called Red Wall constituencies in northern England, which hung on for Labour - just - in 2019 when many turned their back on decades of supporting the party and went Conservative. Steven Rayson, author of The Fall of the Red Wall, tells Bloomberg Westminster's Caroline Hepker and Roger Hearing it's not clear that the modern Labour party, socially liberal and fiscally conservative, shares its views with working-class voters in the northeast any more. Rachel Anderson, assistant director of policy at the Northeast England Chamber of Commerce, joins to discuss the economic opportunities for what is the 10th most deprived town in England, and what the government could do to help.
As Boris Johnson comes under investigation over the financing arrangements for refurbishing his Downing Street flat, and remarks he denies making about the impact of the pandemic, Labour has accused him of lying. Luke Pollard, Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, and Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs tells Bloomberg Westminster's Caroline Hepker and Roger Hearing he doesn't know whether the Prime Minister is telling the truth, but he needs to come clean about who paid for the refurbishment and when. Pollard also discusses Labour's new plans to help farmers post-Brexit. Plus Dr Michelle Harrison, CEO of Kantar Public outlines the latest polling on voting intentions and confidence in the government's handling of the pandemic.
After Bloomberg's debate among the four main candidates to be London mayor, Bloomberg Opinion columnist Therese Raphael discusses the issues raised, and IPSOS Mori´s chief executive Ben Page brings us the latest polling numbers. Plus Paul Swinney, director of policy and research at Centre for Cities and Rob Whitehead, director of strategic projects at Centre for London join Bloomberg Westminster's Caroline Hepker and Roger Hearing to consider the key concerns for whoever is elected to City Hall.
In the latest of our interviews with some of those competing to be Mayor of London, we hear from Peter Gammons, the UKIP candidate. He tells Bloomberg Westminster's Caroline Hepker and Roger Hearing UKIP wasn't just fighting about Brexit. It is a fight against the elite dominating politics, Gammons says, which he intends to pursue with policies including increasing the number of police stations and improving funding by instituting a London lottery. Plus Rob Geaney, head of campaigns and public affairs at the Royal National Institute for the Deaf joins to discuss the difficulties faced by the hearing-impaired during the Covid crisis and lockdown, including the failure of the government to provide signing during ministerial briefings.
Boris Johnson is under growing pressure with allegations about his remarks on the pandemic, and questions of his judgement and honesty from his former chief adviser, Dominic Cummings. Simon Hoare, Conservative MP for North Dorset tells Bloomberg Westminster's Caroline Hepker and Roger Hearing critics of the prime minister who had previously condemned Cummings, could not now turnaround and see Cummings as a hero. Plus Laurie Laybourn-Langton joins to discuss the book he has co-authored - "Planet on Fire. A Manifesto for the Age of Environmental Breakdown" - making the case for radical action when it comes to climate change.
What is the Queen for in 21st century Britain? Why does a developed democracy insist on having an unelected head of state, who is also head of state of 15 other countries within the Commonwealth? Robert Hazell, professor of government and the Constitution at UCL and co-author of The Role of Monarchy in Modern Democracy, tells Bloomberg Westminster's Roger Hearing and Caroline Hepker the monarch speaks to and for the nation at crucial moments and represents continuity. Graham Smith of republic.org and Phillip Blond, director of the think tank ResPublica provide the cases for and against maintaining Britain's constitutional monarchy.
Just over two weeks to go to the vote for mayor of London, and the Greens are promising Londoners a series of measures to improve air-quality, control sky-high rents and even target ending murders in the city within a decade. Sian Berry, the Green candidate and co-leader of the party, tells Bloomberg Westminster's Caroline Hepker and Roger Hearing, that it's important to offer Londoners an alternative and one that will make the city better to work and live in. Subrah Krishnan-Harihara head of research Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce joins to explain why his city is an increasingly attractive location for business and government for as it emerges from pandemic lockdown.
As Northern Ireland comes up to its centenary, polls suggest a majority of people in Britain and Ireland see the province breaking away from the U.K. within 25 years. Declan Kearney, national chairperson for Sinn Fein, MLA and junior minister in Stormont, tells Bloomberg Westminster's Caroline Hepker and Roger Hearing Brexit has changed the landscape and it's time to begin a process for a referendum on a united Ireland. Following recent violence in Belfast, he accused the DUP of dead-end, zero-sum politics, whipping up hysteria among some sections of the loyalist community. Plus Bloomberg Opinion columnist Therese Raphael joins to discuss the ambitious climate goals set by the government - reducing emissions 78 percent by 2035 compared to 1990 levels.
The government is launching a new radical new climate change commitments, setting the U.K. on course to cut carbon emissions by 78 percent by 2035. Claire Perry O'Neill, former Minister for Energy and now senior adviser at at Public Policy Projects tells Bloomberg Westminster's Caroline Hepker and Roger Hearing the government needs to have radical ambitions and the political will is now there to implement them. Plus Alex Deane, head of public affairs UK at FTI Consulting joins to discuss the row over the new football SuperLeague, and says it shows the football industry needs government-backed regulation.
As a number of enquiries get under way into the Greensill lobbying scandal, a senior Tory backbencher has warned the impression of cronyism and corruption could damage Conservative support, especially in the "Red Wall" former Labour areas in the north. Mary Foy, Labour MP for the City of Durham, tells Bloomberg Westminster's Caroline Hepker and Roger Hearing the scandal slaps right in the face of "levelling-up", and claims some politicians have also been making millions out of the pandemic. Bloomberg's David Hellier joins to discuss the plans for a football "super-league" involving Europe's top teams, and the anger they have produced from fans and politicians.
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