MPs' expenses: The scandal that changed Britain

  • 25 March 2019
  • From the section UK
duck house Image copyright PA
Image caption Former Tory MP Sir Peter Viggers claimed expenses for an island to house the ducks in his pond

Ten years on from the MPs' expenses scandal which exposed just what politicians had been claiming, I still catch myself, occasionally, thinking of individual parliamentarians by their corresponding household object.

The Hobnobs and the trouser press, the duck house and the wisteria. The loo seat - make that two loo seats - and the lamps.

It is a reminder of the power the story had at that time to make the public scream with anger and laugh with incomprehension.

There were greater crimes of course than the purchasing of a pair of curtains - seven parliamentarians were sent to jail for false accounting, some of it mortgage fraud.

And of course, there were others who never touched public money and emerged from the whole episode unscathed.

Read full article MPs' expenses: The scandal that changed Britain

The Acosta affair: An unpopular opinion

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Media captionDonald Trump and CNN's Acosta clash

We were on our way to the White House Press press conference yesterday morning - when we got redirected. Disappointed at the time, I am now relieved we were.

There is only one memorable moment from that press conference - and that was a one minute 20 seconds fight between the president and the CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta. No other question really got a look in.

Read full article The Acosta affair: An unpopular opinion

US mid-term elections 2018: The races to watch

a voter walks past campaign signs Image copyright EPA

Popular wisdom suggests that Donald Trump expects to lose the House of Representatives, although Democrats don't believe anything is in the bag.

In the lower chamber there are about 30-35 tight races right across the country.

Read full article US mid-term elections 2018: The races to watch

Mid-term matters (with apologies to Alan Partridge)

US President Donald Trump speaks at a Make America Great Again rally in Cleveland Image copyright Getty Images

The political noise never quite stops in Washington DC - but this morning - one day before Americans head to the polls - it is at fever pitch.

The heavens have opened and rush hour cars are gridlocked, which is good news for Conservative talk show hosts Mary and Vince who we're with for their Morning Call in.

Read full article Mid-term matters (with apologies to Alan Partridge)

Why Roy Moore can still win in Alabama

Roy Moore Image copyright Getty Images

One week ago we were reporting from Alabama. An extraordinary Senate race is being played out in this Deep South state - between a Democrat, Doug Jones, and the Republican candidate Roy Moore.

Roy Moore has been called many things in his political life: a racist, a homophobe, a man who has said American Muslims shouldn't stand for office and that gay sex should be made illegal. He is considered to occupy a place far to the right of any other elected senator.

Read full article Why Roy Moore can still win in Alabama

Election results 2017: Did we miss the noise?

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers a speech to a large crowds at a rally in Gateshead Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There were big crowds at many of Jeremy Corbyn's events

One thing I learnt from the US presidential campaign was that sometimes you have to ignore the numbers and the rational response and just listen to the noise.

We saw it all over America - wherever Trump was, there were crowds, there were queues, there was enthusiasm and there was noise. We saw it for Bernie too. But we didn't much see it for the other candidates.

Read full article Election results 2017: Did we miss the noise?

Election results 2017: The bubbles we missed

Emily Maitlis at the BBC election results screen
Image caption Emily Maitlis reported on the results as they came in on the BBC election screen

Glancing up at the big screen in studio D at Elstree, I see the rather glum face of Mark Field, MP for Cities of London and Westminster.

It reminds me suddenly of a conversation we had a month or so ago.

Read full article Election results 2017: The bubbles we missed

Pollsters, Pilates and the politics of labels

  • 17 November 2016
  • From the section UK
Emily Maitlis

This morning, a throwaway phrase stopped me in the middle of a stomach crunch.

It was during a (liberal, elite) Pilates class - when our (gay, Australian ) teacher addressed the (white, female) participants with the words "Right now girls...".

Read full article Pollsters, Pilates and the politics of labels

Donald Trump, the Snapchat president?

  • 15 November 2016
  • From the section UK
Donald Trump holds up a Donald Trump mask Image copyright Getty Images

The imminent Trump presidency throws up a hundred column ideas a day. So I feel I'm not done here yet. But one of the questions I keep returning to is this: Will he do what he said he would do? And is that a good thing or a bad thing?

It is, it's fair to say, an unusual predicament to be in as a journalist. Normally, holding our elected officials to account means ensuring they stick to their pledges.

Read full article Donald Trump, the Snapchat president?

US election 2016: What time should I go to bed?

A woman with a US flag sticker on her face Image copyright Getty Images

The good news about a US election night - or the disappointing news if you're hardcore - is that they are normally pretty fast.

If there is a decisive victory we should know the result by around 04:00 GMT (23:00 EST). Obama's first election in 2008 was done and dusted by 04:30 GMT (23:30 EST).

Read full article US election 2016: What time should I go to bed?