Weidenfeld & Nicolson have acquired biting critique of Westminster that shines a light on how British politics really operates

British politics is broken. Anyone sitting down to watch the news will get a firm sense that something has gone terribly wrong. Prime ministers are misleading and inadequate. Cabinet secretaries are uninformed and deluded. Many MPs are of the lowest imaginable quality. The legislation is sloppy, ineffective and broadly worded. Expertise is denigrated. Lies are rewarded. And deep-seated, long-lasting national problems go permanently unresolved. Most of us have a sense that the system doesn’t work – but do we know how to articulate exactly why? The reality is that despite all the coverage, hardly anyone understands how Westminster actually works. Our political and financial system is cloaked in secrecy, archaic terminology, ancient custom, impenetrable technical jargon and deliberate obfuscation. 


HOW WESTMINSTER WORKS . . . AND WHY IT DOESN’T is an impeccably researched and highly informative account of the reality behind the news stories we read every day. It provides exactly what people in power have always tried to avoid: a description of the mechanisms of government which can be understood by anyone. 


Jenny Lord, Executive Publisher of Weidenfeld & Nicolson and Literary, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Lisa Moylett at CMM Agency in a pre-empt.  


Jenny Lord says: ‘Our political landscape is a mess of sleaze, shiftiness and wilful obfuscation. We all know this. But what we don’t know is exactly how the system allows it to happen. I can’t think of anyone better placed to explain the mechanics of how Westminster really works than Ian Dunt – a first rate communicator who has been embedded in the heart of the political system for many years – and we’re excited to welcome him to W&N.’ 


Ian Dunt says: ‘We debate politics every day, but most of us don’t have a clear idea of how Westminster works. This book will provide something that is missing from our national debate: a short, easy-to-read, one-stop-shop explainer of every aspect of the British political system, from parliament to Downing Street, the Treasury to Fleet Street. It’s crammed full of human stories – some tragic, some funny, some bitterly ironic – from people at every level of the political system. We’re going to lift the lid off this thing, and show people how it works – and, when we’re done, how to fix it. I can’t wait to get it into people’s hands.’ 


Ian Dunt spent many years working in the heart of Westminster as editor of Politics.co.uk. He is a columnist for the i newspaper, host on the Oh God What Now and Origin Story podcasts, and regularly appears as a political pundit on TV and radio. He is the author of two previous books – Brexit: What the Hell Happens Now and How to be a Liberal.