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Why We Get the Wrong Politicians

UK Publisher: Atlantic Books

As one of the country’s leading political journalists, Isabel Hardman has spent many years in that bizarre rabbit-warren we call the Houses of Parliament. She’s conducted thousands of interviews with MPs ranging from fresh-faced recruits to Prime Ministers. With some notable exceptions, she has found them to be decent, hard-working people, doing a hugely difficult and demanding job. And yet, politicians are consistently voted the least trusted professional group by the UK public – below estate agents, lawyers and journalists. And every year, MPs collectively introduce new legislation that doesn’t do what it sets out to achieve – often with terrible financial and human costs.

In this entertaining examination of our political class, award-winning journalist Isabel Hardman tries to square this circle. She lifts the lid on the strange world of Westminster and asks why we end up with representatives that we are so unhappy with. Arguing that each stage of the parliamentary career favours the ‘wrong’ politicians, she considers the troubling legacy of a political system that dissuades large parts of society from taking part. Filled with forensic analysis and revealing reportage, this landmark book is a must read for anyone who wants to see a future with better government.

Why We Get the Wrong Politicians was shortlisted for Waterstones’ 2018 Book of the Year, was named Book of the Year by a non-parliamentarian at the Parliamentary Book Awards, and has been longlisted for the 2019 Orwell Prize.


Advance praise for Why We Get the Wrong Politicians:


‘It’s easy to moan that Westminster doesn’t work and a lot harder to explain why. To understand, this is the book you need to read’

Laura Kuenssberg – Political Editor, BBC News


‘An entertaining read that addresses hard questions … invaluable for those who think they know what’s wrong with Westminster but have no idea how to put it right.’

John Humphrys – Presenter, Today Programme


‘Hardman’s diagnosis of the malaise in the body politic is compelling and entertaining’

Robert Peston – Political Editor, ITV News


‘A fast-paced, intelligent dissection of modern politics, packed full of juicy anecdotes and insider knowledge. What Isabel Hardman doesn’t know about parliament isn’t worth knowing’

Helen Lewis – Deputy Editor, New Statesman


‘The untold, candid account of our MPs. Isabel Hardman has been able to pierce our protective armour because we trust and respect her. And she’s analysed what she found with a fierce intellect’

Harriet Harman MP


‘This thoroughly readable and well-researched book explains why parliamentary powers won’t ever be used properly until parties change how they choose their candidates’

Lord Peter Mandelson


‘With humour and humanity, Isabel Hardman lifts the lid on the Houses of Parliament and shows with compelling authority how the structure and culture of our political system so often delivers the worst kind of results. This book has the power to fundamentally change how we do things in this country’

Emily Maitlis – Presenter, Newsnight


‘This highly readable book serves as a reminder that the principal purpose of an MP is to be a legislator, yet poorly thought through laws are often passed’

Jacob Rees-Mogg MP

Isabel Hardman is Assistant Editor of the Spectator and presenter of Radio 4’s The Week in Westminster. She regularly writes...