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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 29 January 2011

Fraser Nelson of The Spectator looks behind the scenes at Westminster.

It was the week of an economic shock. The economy contracted, according to latest figures. The coalition blamed the wintry weather. But opponents were quick to question where growth will come from in the age of austerity. The former Labour chancellor, Alistair Darling, does so here in debate with the Conservative's deputy chairman Michael Fallon.

The departure of two 'working class' figures from the political scene heightened perceptions that the political classes are a privileged and wealthy elite. The cartoonist at The Times newspaper, Peter Brookes, often depicts the coalition leaders as public school boys. Here, he tells why.

But is the accusation really true about the political classes in general? The Tory peer and author - and former grammar school boy - Michael Dobbs says it's not. As does Labour's Jon Cruddas who went to a comprehensive school and who worked in Number 10 under Tony Blair.

This week also saw the publication of the Education Bill which will carry into law the proposals of the Education Secretary, Michael Gove. The Labour MP, Lisa Nandy, fears that allowing parents to set up their own schools will not benefit poorer pupils. The Conservative chairman of the Education Committee, Graham Stuart, makes the case for change..


4 items
  • Economic Shock

    The economy contracted in the last quarter of 2010. Former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling and Conservative deputy chairman Michael Fallon give their views on the deficit, growth and recession.

  • Political Cartoon Figures

    Two 'working class' figures left the political scene this week. Are the present political classes a privileged and wealthy elite? Cartoonist Peter Brookes explains they are easy to depict this way.

  • Does class matter in politics?

    Does class matter in politics? Tory peer, author and former grammar school boy Michael Dobbs and Labour's Jon Cruddas, who worked with Tony Blair and went to a comprehensive school, decide.

  • Education Bill and "Free" schools

    This week the Education Bill was published. Labour MP Lisa Nandy fears allowing parents to set up “free” schools will cause more inequality. However, Conservative MP Graham Stuart advocates change.


Westminster Hour

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Radio 4's Sunday night political discussion programme.


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    Week in Westminster

    Top political commentators reflect on the week's political events in discussion with MPs, Peers and…

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