King of the Middle Class Radicals: That was grammar school-educated Sir Keir Starmer’s university nickname.

By Lord Ashcroft

Serialisation of Red Knight: The Unauthorised Biography Of Sir Keir Starmer, in The Mail on Sunday on 13 June 2021.

Even now, says a biography the Labour leader tried to obstruct, he’s guilty of overplaying his working-class credentials.

Those who know Sir Keir Starmer well often speak of his decency, integrity, intellect and reluctance to give too much away about himself.

However, Labour’s local elections trouncing in May spurred him to greater efforts on the self-promotion front.

The opening move was an interview on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, in which he spoke tearfully and movingly about his mother’s life-debilitating illness. (more…)

Trump is gone but Trumpism lives on: Hopes of a new age of unity under Joe Biden are surely forlorn

By Lord Ashcroft

First published in the Mail on Sunday on 17 January 2021.

When Joe Biden takes the oath of office this week, he will go down in history: having won more votes than any previous candidate, he will become the oldest person ever to become the country’s Commander-in-Chief. He will also, perhaps, be the first President to fulfil his mandate on the day of his inauguration.

For millions of Americans, Biden has one job – to remove Donald Trump from the White House – and he will complete this mission by lunchtime on Wednesday. Much of the country will sigh with relief as the twice-impeached Trump leaves Washington to await the Senate’s verdict on charges of high crimes and misdemeanours and its decision on whether he will be allowed to run for office again.

Biden’s problems will begin with whatever he decides to do for an encore. As I found in my research throughout the campaign, his 81 million-strong electoral support is not a monolithic bloc. Much of the Democratic base yearned for a more liberal, progressive direction and found the compromise of nominating an elderly, white, moderate, career politician quite agonising. (more…)

Lord Ashcroft talks to The Critic about his latest book, Going For Broke.

By Lord Ashcroft

Only a year ago, Rishi Sunak was a name known only to close followers of Westminster politics. Now the Chancellor of the Exchequer is the most important figure in the government after the prime minister and the man talked about as the most likely future leader of the country, or at least the Conservative party.

But who is he? Has he risen so quickly that his views are not fully formed and how broad are his interests and his appeal? (more…)

The rise and rise of Rishi Sunak laid bare in new biography

By Lord Ashcroft

First published in the Daily Express on Saturday 14 November 2020.

IN THE summer of 2019, Rishi Sunak was a junior minister in the local government department writing on his constituency website about council tax and disabled lavatories. A year later he was Chancellor of the Exchequer – a role second only in importance to that of Prime Minister – and at the forefront of the fight to defend the British economy from the devastating effects of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The speed of his ascent and the magnitude of the crisis meant Sunak – dubbed “Dishy Rishi” and enjoying approval ratings Boris Johnson could only dream of – went from relative unknown to household name almost overnight. Tipped as a future Prime Minister, his rapid rise means the public knows little about the man who has become the undoubted political celebrity of 2020, yet his is an extraordinary story of a family’s rise to prominence through hard work. (more…)

Lord Ashcroft’s interview with Julia Hartley-Brewer on Talk Radio

By Lord Ashcroft

Three years ago, Rishi Sunak was an unknown junior minister in the Department of Local Government. By the age of thirty-nine, he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, grappling with the gravest economic crisis in modern history.

In the middle of 2019, Rishi Sunak was an unknown junior minister in the local government department. Seven months later, at the age of thirty-nine, he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, grappling with the gravest economic crisis in modern history.

Michael Ashcroft’s new book charts Sunak’s ascent from his parents’ Southampton pharmacy to the University of Oxford, the City of London, Silicon Valley – and the top of British politics.

BUY NOW: https://www.bitebackpublishing.com/books/going-for-broke

Rishi Sunak’s grandmother sold all her wedding jewellery for a one-way ticket to the land of Oxford and Shakespeare

By Lord Ashcroft

Serialisation of Going For Broke: The Rise of Rishi Sunak, published in The Mail On Sunday on 08 November 2020.

If there is such a thing as a perfect childhood, all the evidence suggests that Rishi Sunak was lucky enough to have had one.

Loving parents and siblings, a stable home environment, a big house with a garden in the sort of leafy English neighbourhood where children can play in the street, and an education at one of the country’s leading public schools. (more…)

Our next Prime Minister? Rishi Sunak’s ex-boss at Goldman Sachs warned he is too nice to win in the dirty world of politics

By Lord Ashcroft

First published in the Mail on Sunday on 08 November 2020.

Who is Rishi Sunak? That’s the question I set out to answer when I decided to write a book about how he landed one of the most powerful and influential jobs in government.

It all happened so suddenly. One minute almost nobody outside Westminster and Yorkshire, where he is an MP, had heard of him.

The next, he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, leading the economic response to coronavirus. In what seemed like a heartbeat, he had become a star. (more…)

Thin, faint, exhausted

By Lord Ashcroft

Serialisation of Going For Broke: The Rise of Rishi Sunak, published in The Mail On Sunday on 01 November 2020.

Many predict Rishi Sunak will be the next PM… but a new biography by LORD ASHCROFT reveals 18-hour days battling the Covid crisis has pushed him to the limit.

When billionaire tech tycoon’s daughter Akshata Murthy first told her father of her plans to marry, his reaction was typically paternal. ‘When a daughter gets married, a father has mixed feelings,’ Narayana Murthy, sometimes known as ‘the Bill Gates of India‘, wrote back to her. He admitted to a twinge of jealousy at having to share her with a ‘smart, confident younger man’.

But Narayana was to change his opinion rapidly after meeting his future son-in-law, a charismatic 29-year-old with degrees from Oxford and Stanford Business School, then working for arguably the UK’s best-performing hedge fund. (more…)

“Trump lies a lot and Biden’s kind of not all there” “The silver lining is that if Trump loses, he can run again!”: My final election focus groups in Pennsylvania and Arizona

By Lord Ashcroft

The final week of our virtual pre-election focus group tour of America’s swing states takes us to Pennsylvania, which swung narrowly to Trump four years having backed Democrats for president in every election since 1988, and Arizona, which has voted for the Republican in all but one election since 1948 but now high on Joe Biden’s list of targets.

With only days to go, we found some 2016 Trump supporters torn over how to cast their vote: “I was a little concerned that Biden’s not sure what he’s going to do with fossil fuel. And I’m concerned on Trump’s side with the healthcare system, but I like the economics, but maybe Biden has a better plan for disability people like me. So right now I’m stuck;” “Trump has no response plan for the virus, nothing’s going on.

Read more …

“He’s like a great surgeon with a terrible bedside manner” “It’s starting to feel like China” “If you’re voting for Trump, you keep your mouth shut”: My US election focus groups in Georgia and Ohio

By Lord Ashcroft

This week our virtual tour of America takes us to Georgia, widely seen as a toss-up this year despite having voted for the Republican in every presidential election since 1992, and Ohio, the quintessential swing state which has backed the losing candidate only once since 1944.

As if often the case with political news, the Hunter Biden email scandal – the claim that Joe Biden’s son was involved in corruption involving a Ukrainian energy company – seemed to have gained a great deal of attention without moving any votes.

Read more …