Blog

A Citizen Assembly: a bold initiative or a political cop-out?

  • 20 Jun 2019

Whilst most eyes at Westminster are resolutely fixed on the knock-out rounds of the Conservative leadership contest and Labour’s ongoing swithering on its position on a second Brexit referendum an influential coalition of MPs announced plans for a Citizen’s Assembly. Six of th...

The Civil Service: 165 years on from Northcote-Trevelyan

  • 20 Jun 2019

On a sunny day in late June 2019 the great and the good gathered at Westminster Abbey to remember and celebrate the life of Jeremy Heywood, Secretary of the Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service. It was a remarkable gathering of leading politicians, civil servants, business fi...

Why Boris Johnson wants to be the prime minister

  • 18 Jun 2019

In 2005 I was a Parliamentary candidate in a key marginal seat and Boris had agreed to come and speak in support of my candidacy. I collected him from the station and he slumped into the seat beside me. A shadowy figure slipped into the back of the car. He pulled out a file an...

In Trafalgar Square Justin Welby achieved something remarkable

  • 10 Jun 2019

Yesterday the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, did an extraordinary thing – he brought prayer to the heart of London. You would not know it if you rely on the mainstream media – newspapers, TV or radio – for your information because none of them covered the event in Tra...

Notre Dame is more than a building and it will rise again

  • 16 Apr 2019

This morning Paris awakes to the stark fact that its skyline has been changed if not forever certainly for a long time to come. Notre Dame as we have known and inherited it has been lost. The embers of the great fire that reduced this much-loved cathedral to ash and rubble are...

The Archbishop, Brexit and an historic opportunity

  • 2 Apr 2019

Brexit is an extraordinary phenomenon of our time. On the one hand it is destroying the prevailing political settlement, straining the bounds of our constitutional processes and dividing communities up and down the land. On the other hand interest in politics and the goings on...

Time for a General Election?

  • 29 Mar 2019

There’s a very interesting received wisdom around Westminster that a General Election is unlikely. What would it solve? Mrs May has said she is leaving. What would the manifestos be? Ah, finger tapping the nose, you can’t because of the Fixed Term Parliament Act, and MPs would...

Lambeth Conference 2020 – does anyone care?

  • 22 Mar 2019

Since becoming the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury in 2013 Justin Welby has been all action and decision. He has needed to be. From his two immediate predecessors he inherited a church that was in perilous organisational disarray and numerical decline. George Carey’s incompeten...

Cameron and Clegg’s idiotic reforms to parliament are making this crisis worse

  • 22 Mar 2019

Everyone at Westminster is very cross and very tired. Senses of proportion and perspective have been jettisoned in favour of shouting, abuse, apocalyptic warnings about the state of democracy and the end of Parliamentary government as we know it. Meanwhile, outside of the SW1 ...

Parliament is doing its job and it is a magnificent sight

  • 17 Mar 2019

As we stagger out of another week of Brexit drama, and before we stumble into the next one, let’s take a step back, take a deep breath and consider the scene. First and foremost we need to establish some sense of perspective. Our lives, liberties and safety are not at stake...