It was Harold Wilson who said that a week is a long time in politics. How true that is for the times we are living in now. This time last week, The Spectator spoke to Gavin Shuker MP, the ringleader of the newly-formed Independent Group, about the plotting that happened behind the scenes and the ambitions of the independent MPs for their new project (you can listen to it here). A few days after recording, Jeremy Corbyn finally – though reluctantly – embraced a second referendum, to prevent more Labour MPs jumping ship. On the same day, Theresa May was forced into a new Brexit position of her own – to allow MPs a vote on extending Article 50. Knowing parliamentary arithmetic as we do, this is essentially a green light to extend Article 50 if the next meaningful vote does not pass. James Forsyth writes about the leaders’ new positions in this week’s cover piece, and explains how both have been dragged into them by their parties. So, can either party survive Brexit?
James joins the podcast this week, and Katy Balls chats to one of the MPs who’s been making Theresa May’s life harder – Nick Boles MP. His amendments – working together with Labour MP Yvette Cooper and colleague Oliver Letwin MP – have consistently attempted to take no deal off the table. It seems that this week, he’s finally succeeded. On the podcast, he argues that this latest development in fact makes it more likely that the Prime Minister’s deal will pass, as it’s obvious that Parliament has completely ruled out leaving without a deal.
And across the floor, Labour’s week hasn’t been better. Sure, Corbyn might have headed off further defections to TIG, but his support for the second referendum has angered many Labour MPs who are in Leave-voting seats. Sienna Rodgers, editor of Labour List, joins the podcast to give us an insider view to the atmosphere within Labour, and especially in the aftermath of Chris Williamson’s suspension. Listen here:
We also talk to Sam Leith, our Literary Editor, about his love for video games. Spectator readers are probably not the target audience for the latest gaming phenomenons like Fortnite and the Witcher. But for Sam, they’re not only a source of fun escapism – some of them can even be considered art. Sam is on the podcast with Harry Darwin, a professional Fortnite player (yes, those exist) who tells us why this £4 billion industry is just so popular.