127: Boris Bangers leave a bad taste

Boris Johnson blunders into a major diplomatic row between the UK and US — and sides with Donald Trump. He’s not even Prime Minister yet, but he’s already demonstrated exactly where his loyalties lie.

It’s the kind of thing that would derail any normal candidacy — but Johnson remains Teflon-coated. We explore the week that saw the only debate of the entire campaign, and highlighted the many shortcomings of the man almost certain to be in Downing Street by the end of the month.

We hear from Washington reporter Simon Marks (twitter.com/simonmarksfsn) on the worrying implications for all the diplomats Donald Trump hasn’t thrown a tantrum at. Yet.

Meanwhile, Labour faces public condemnation over its failure to tackle anti-semitism inside the party — and instead of doing anything about hate speech, it goes on the attack against whistleblowers and journalists.

Plus, how a sausage-themed PR stunt didn’t go quite according to plan.

126: Looking for Leadership

At our moment of greatest political crisis, a leadership vacuum opens up. Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt trade undeliverable promises, on Brexit and bribes for voters. But how many of the people choosing between them are really Conservatives?

Labour again fails to confront anti-semitism in the party — suspending, re-admitting and then suspending Chris Williamson. So what does someone actually have to do to be thrown out of the Labour Party? And are the civil service really plotting to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of Downing Street.

We look too at the Liberal Democrats’ leadership campaign, which could be a lot more significant than you might think.

And the Brexit Party turn up in Strasbourg, and make idiots of themselves. Obviously.

125: Blue on Blue

So, 3 years on from the EU referendum, and it’s come to this. Boris Johnson vs Jeremy Hunt to preside over Britain’s season finale.

As Tory MPs choose the final two leadership candidates, we assess the breathless events of the past few days, and look at how the debates to come in the next few weeks are likely to pan out.

And what about those who fell by the wayside? Will Rory Stewart come back for the next leadership election (say, next year?) Will anyone ever remember Esther McVey once thought she had what it takes to be Prime Minister?

Plus we look at the Labour Party’s struggles with Brexit, as Jeremy Corbyn edges closer to backing a second referendum.

124: It's a Knockout

The first round of the Tory Leadership contest eliminates three also-rans, but seven potential Prime Ministers remain. Boris Johnson, and six other people likely to lose to Boris Johnson. Unless, that is, anyone can defeat the overwhelming favourite.

We compare the fortunes of the charisma-free Jeremy Hunt, the seemingly anti-democratic Dominic Raab and the near-silent Sajid Javid. Plus we question the lines Michael Gove has been taking.

We ask how far Rory Stewart can take his insurgent campaign.

Plus, what could be the last attempt to stop a no-deal Brexit in Parliament — and the potential for a full-on constitutional crisis as the Brexit deadline draws nearer.


123: The Rubbish Apprentice

Theresa May resigns as Conservative leader, after hosting tiny-handed orange nightmare Donald Trump. Already she is yesterday’s woman, as the Tory leadership contest steps up.

Yet it appears to resemble a particularly poor episode of The Apprentice, as people you’ve never heard of keep telling you how brilliant they are.

We look at the rule changes designed to speed up the contest, and ask whether they might not be that good an idea.

Plus the politics of the Trump visit. Who was right? The critics who arguably risked relations with the US, or the supporters who bent their knee for a demagogue?

And we explore the seeming collapse of Change UK, as more than half their MPs defect.