The Leader | Evening Standard daily
Summary: Released at 4pm on the day of recording, the Leader podcast brings you the latest news, analysis and interviews from the Evening Standard. Our journalists, editors and columnists will take you through the day’s events, helping you understand what’s happening during these extraordinary times.
Our City Hall editor Ross Lydall tells us how a delay to the London mayoral election has affected the vote. The public’s going to the polls tomorrow, a year after the pandemic forced the ballots to be closed. Ross says candidates like independent Rory Stewart dropping out changed the way the campaign was fought, and will probably have some effect on the vote for both Labour’s Sadiq Khan and Conservative Shaun Bailey. We discuss the latest polls and look back at an extraordinary five years since the last vote. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Our City Hall editor Ross Lydall joins the podcast to discuss the Evening Standard’s third and final poll of voting intentions in the London mayoral election. The Opinium survey shows Mr Khan on 48 per cent, down three points on last month, and Mr Bailey unchanged on 29 per cent of first-preference votes. The first of our three polls, in March, had Mr Khan on 53 per cent and Mr Bailey on 28 per cent of first preferences. Ross says the latest survey finds crime remains the most important issue to Londoners, having replaced health/the NHS in the second poll. We also hear about Mr Khan’s claim that he’ll try to bring the Olympics and Paralympics back to London in 2036 or 2040. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Features writer Katie Strick’s been looking at how the redecoration of 11 Downing Street by Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds reportedly hit the £200,000 mark. She reveals the costs of hiring one of London’s top interior designers, Lulu Lytle, whose fabric prices start at £100 a metre. And she’s been looking into how much of the flat’s furnishings were really from John Lewis when the Prime Minister and his fiancée arrived, such as the £100 chrome table lamp left by Theresa May. But is £200,000 a lot of money for a Downing Street refurbishment anyway? We also talk about the cash spent by previous occupants. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Evening Standard columnist, Anne McElvoy takes us through the changing role of the Duchess of Cambridge as we mark the 10th anniversary of her fairy tale wedding to Prince William. Has royal life turned out the way Kate Middleton wanted it to? We discuss how she’s taken on a “centrist” role, acting as a kind of peacemaker during a time of disruption in the family. And we talk about what the future holds for her, and how her influence within Buckingham Palace and the United Kingdom will change when Prince Charles becomes King. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Our political editor Joe Murphy tells us why the Electoral Commission’s launched a “bombshell” investigation into the redecoration of 11 Downing Street. The watchdog says it’s “now satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that an offence or offences may have occurred.” The announcement came shortly before Prime Minister’s Questions, during which Boris Johnson was also asked again if he said he’d rather “let the bodies pile high” than have a third lockdown. The Prime minister gave a strong denial in the Commons, but Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer appeared to suggest he would return to it later saying: “I’ll leave that there for now.” Joe tells us that’s sparked speculation the Labour party has more information that’s not yet been revealed to the public. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Susannah Butter joins the podcast to look at Boris Johnson’s finances. As the cost of the Prime Minister’s flat refurbishment comes under scrutiny - why can’t he afford to pay for it? We learn how the UK PM’s salary is much lower than some other countries’ and Mr Johnson has actually taken a considerable pay cut to take over at Downing Street. But he also has considerable outgoings, including the cost of a divorce estimated at £2 million, and childcare costs. We also look at the Evening Standard’s exclusive poll showing Boris Johnson is regarded as “untrustworthy” by six in 10 Britons. The Ipsos Mori survey suggests Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is regarded as trustworthy by 42 per cent and not to be trusted by 41. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Scotland Yard’s launching Operation Sceptre in another attempt to tackle London’s horrific knife crime problem. The Evening Standard’s John Dunne details how it will use technology, like knife detectors at train stations, as well as sending officers into schools to educate young people about the dangers of blades. The operation comes after a weekend of violence in which Fares Maatou, 14, was stabbed to death in Newham and a 16-year-old-girl suffered life-changing injuries after a double knife attack in Lambeth. Columnist Natasha Mwansa tells us how growing up in Newham she saw friends of friends get caught up in gang culture and very little seems to have changed. She says the issue is a city-wide one, and increased police patrols will not be enough to beat it. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Deputy political editor Nicholas Cecil discusses the Downing Street lobbying row that won’t go away. One of the government’s own ministers, Caroline Dinenage, revealed she doesn’t have Boris Johnson’s mobile phone number, saying it’s not given out “willy-nilly”. But that’s led to some asking why a businessman like Sir James Dyson has the ability to text the Prime Minister when some ministers themselves can’t. He also discusses speculation that former advisor Dominic Cummings is behind the leak of the text conversation between the billionaire businessman and Mr Johnson. Elsewhere, international travel will be legal again from the middle of next month, but where will you be able to go? Travel consultant Paul Charles joins us from a major tourism summit in Mexico, and reveals the 30 destinations that are believed to be on the so-called “green list”. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The Evening Standard’s City Hall editor Ross Lydall joins the podcast with two weeks to go until London hits the ballot box for the mayoral election. He’s been speaking to both Sadiq Khan and Shaun Bailey who have been campaigning in the city, with the Conservative candidate making up some ground in the polls although the Labour incumbent is far ahead. We also hear from the Greens’ Sian Berry and Lib Dems’ Luisa Porritt who are trying to pick up votes as the big day looms. And Ross tells us what happened when both Mr Khan and Mr Bailey asked to borrow his bike. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The Queen has thanked people around the world for their “support and kindness” following the death of Prince Philip as she marked her first birthday without her “strength and stay”. In a statement the monarch, who turned 95, said that the Royal Family were in a period of “great sadness” but that she had “received many messages of good wishes, which I very much appreciate”. The Evening Standard’s Lifestyle editor Suzannah Ramsdale joins the podcast to talk about how her Majesty spent the day with her family, Prince Harry’s involvement before heading back to the States, and plans for a four day bank holiday next year. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Children are returning to school following the Easter break, following a long stretch of being taught at home. For some families, those lockdown kitchen classrooms became quite chaotic, and there are concerns the upheaval left a student generation behind in their education. Now the government’s put a price tag of £1.7 billion on helping their academic recovery. But a report by the Education Policy Institute think tank says up to £15 billion is needed. The EPI believes that without significant policy interventions and funding, there could be severe consequences for young people’s mental health, future earnings and life chances. The Evening Standard’s Education Editor Anna Davis examines the report's findings and Covid’s academic impact. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Are you among the legions of employees who have spent this pandemic year wedged in a spare bedroom or camped out with your laptop at the kitchen table? The Office for National Statistics kicks off this week with research showing that nearly half of London’s employees have been working from home since Covid struck - that’s far more people avoiding the daily commute than anywhere else in the United Kingdom. But has this cultural shift meant working habits are changed for good, or will it all be back to normal by Christmas? The Standard’s Consumer Business Editor Jonathan Prynn analyses the ONS data to decipher what it means for the future of commuting and the knock-on financial impact for London’s retail sector. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Prince Philip’s biographer, Philip Eade, joins the show to discuss the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral at Windsor Castle. He tells us the stripped back event is “exactly the sort of funeral he would have chosen for himself,” with a guest list strictly limited to just 30 people and much of the ceremony cut down. The funeral’s taking place at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle, with guests being told to socially distance and wear face masks, including the Queen. But Philip Eade tells us the smaller, more intimate gathering of close family and friends may suit her Majesty more, as she mourns the loss of her husband of 73 years. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Health editor Ross Lydall explains the results of an exclusive poll for the Evening Standard showing London would support controversial Covid passports if they meant being able to go out again. Some 67 per cent say they would personally take them up, boosting hopes that Covid certificates are the key to filling the West End, nightclubs and Wembley Stadium this summer. In a survey of 1,100 people in the capital for the Standard, pollsters Opinium found only 21 per cent would refuse to carry them, meaning support of more than three to one. We also hear from mayor Sadiq Khan, who reveals his worries about coronavirus mutations as surge testing continues in four boroughs following the discovery of the South African variant. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The Evening Standard’s health editor Ross Lydall explains what the South African variant of coronavirus is and how the capital’s battling to contain it. Residents in a “targeted area” within SE16 in Southwark are being urged to get a test after a case of the mutation was detected there. Additional testing sites, some of them mobile, are also being rolled out in Wandsworth and Lambeth where dozens of cases of the SA variant virus have been identified. London Mayor Sadiq Khan, a Wandsworth resident, is one of those who have been tested as has his Tory election rival Shaun Bailey who got a Covid vaccine in the area this week. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.